UK Food Aid: Ethiopia

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Wednesday 14th June 2023

(1 year, 1 month ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Portrait Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

The noble Lord makes a hugely important point. It is worth saying that Ethiopia was long considered a success story. Over the last few decades, millions upon millions of people have been pulled out of poverty—with UK support, I should say; the UK has been a principal player in that process and can be proud of it—but those gains are being lost as a consequence of drought, conflict and the war in Ukraine, et cetera. The noble Lord raises the issue of adaptation. The UK has committed that half or thereabouts of our international climate finance should be spent on adaptation, the other half being spent on mitigation. A very big proportion of both will be invested in nature-based solutions to climate change, which provide both adaptation and mitigation. That is the lens through which we approach climate change, and it is the focus of all the investments in the £11.6 billion commitment that former Prime Minister Boris Johnson made at COP 26.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
- Hansard - -

My Lords, I very much support the Government’s view about helping Africa in the way they have set out, but last time I was in Ethiopia it was clear that millions of women did not have access to family planning. Is it not the biggest scourge of Africa that those women have no ability to control the number of children they have?

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Portrait Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

The noble Lord is right to identify that as a major issue, which is why family planning remains a big focus of UK aid across Africa. So many threats, risks, challenges and pressures face that continent, and climate change and environmental degradation, as mentioned in the previous question, are rapidly becoming the dominant threat facing many countries in the continent.

United Nations Population Fund Report

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Wednesday 24th May 2023

(1 year, 2 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Portrait Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

My noble friend is right to make this point. There is no point having a strategy of the sort we have just published if it is not embedded internationally through our posts. I assure the noble Baroness and the House that all posts will implement the strategy. They have been directed to do so by the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary. To reinforce that, although it preceded the strategy, this issue is placed centrally as a high priority, indeed a top priority, in both the IDS and the integrated review.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
- View Speech - Hansard - -

My Lords, does the Minister share our amazement that despite the amount of money we spend on aid here, around Europe and around the world that so many women have no access to family planning? Surely this should be our number one priority and should take precedence over some of the other programmes.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Portrait Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Con)
- View Speech - Hansard - - - Excerpts

On one level I am inclined to agree with the noble Lord but there are so many important themes that the Foreign Office has prioritised in our integrated review and our IDS—there is permanent tension between competing causes. It is a priority for the Government—that has been made crystal clear in all the key documents that have been produced in the last couple of years that set the direction of our funding for the next decade—but it is not the only priority.

Animal Welfare: Tourist Attractions, Activities and Experiences

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Monday 20th June 2022

(2 years, 1 month ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Portrait Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

It is an important point and in fact, to give it credit, the Association of British Travel Agents—ABTA—has updated and published guidelines on a whole range of activities which it classes as unacceptable, and its definition is fairly closely aligned with that of many of the organisations that focus on this issue. It is a voluntary set of guidelines—what we are talking about today is something that will be harder than that, something mandatory—but it is worth acknowledging the steps that the industry is already taking.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
- Hansard - -

My Lords, why are the Government so poor at managing their legislation programme? Every week, Ministers come forward and say that they are committed to something but they have not got a timeline for it. Is it not about time the Government got their act together and sorted out their legislation programme?

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Portrait Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

This is a question that goes way beyond my own pay grade. All I can tell the noble Lord is that I am working very hard to bring the full range of animal welfare measures that we have been discussing now for a couple of years. I would also remind the House that, by my counting, there are 10 significant animal welfare measures which we have brought in, or which are very nearly through the process, so we are making progress in this area.

Ireland: Russian Naval Military Exercises

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Wednesday 23rd February 2022

(2 years, 5 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Portrait Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The noble Lord raises an important point. Obviously, I can only speculate, but irrespective of whether what the Russians were planning to engage in was legal—I think it is generally accepted that what they were intending to do was legal—it was undoubtedly provocative and overly assertive.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
- Hansard - -

My Lords, is it the case that both Russia and China have a strategy and a plan to promote their interests, while the West, including the Government, has no strategy or plan for dealing with China or Russia?

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Portrait Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I do not agree. It is essential that we work with and align as closely as possible with our allies. However, the single most effective thing we can do in relation to the current threat, which has become more than a threat in recent days, is to hit Russia where it hurts, which means imposing as tight a series and set of sanctions as possible to punish those who are closest to, and in many cases propping up, the Kremlin.

Ukraine: OSCE Special Monitoring Mission

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Wednesday 23rd February 2022

(2 years, 5 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Portrait Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

Yes, I am saying that the Government took their decision to safeguard the lives of the people in question. The noble Lord can draw his own conclusion. It is easy to make such statements from the comfort of these red Benches. Nevertheless, it is the Government’s job to ensure, as much as they can, the safety of those people on the front line doing extremely difficult work.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
- Hansard - -

My Lords, is this decision not helping the Russians? They have a strategy and a plan for their misinformation. By withdrawing our people, we have allowed Russia to continue its misinformation and make more efforts with it during the next few weeks.

Kabul: Pen Farthing

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Wednesday 2nd February 2022

(2 years, 5 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Portrait Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I suspect that, like every MP, and probably every person in this House, I experienced an extraordinarily effective campaign mobilising people to write emails to their representatives. So, like everyone, I received hundreds, maybe thousands of emails from people on this issue, but my position—in writing, on the record—has always been that animals should never have been, and were not, prioritised over people. The noble Baroness asked about specific representation. I could spend hours, probably, relaying the torrent of emails that was received, but I will add one further thing: at no point did the Government as a whole receive any kind of authorisation on this issue, one way or the other, from the Prime Minister, who had no involvement at all. I think that was the point of the Question that was put to me and I emphasise that again.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
- Hansard - -

My Lords, it is coming to something when the Prime Minister has a habit of not knowing what was going on in his department, and it sounds as though the Minister does not know what is going on in his. Can he explain why this individual was allowed to get a private jet in when there were still people we wanted to get out of there? How could he do it when the Government could not for a lot of brave people who will potentially give their lives because Ministers failed?

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Portrait Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

I think that is a completely nonsense question. The idea that the Prime Minister should be engaged in issues around the welfare of a handful of animals when we were engaging, as a Government, in one of the biggest—indeed, the biggest—evacuations this country has ever been involved in is just absurd. I would be appalled if the Prime Minister had been involved in such minutiae, frankly. As I said, we got 17,000 people out in a very short period of time. That is a record—it has never happened before. I think we can salute our Armed Forces and those officials who worked incredibly hard to pull off an extraordinary feat.

Diplomatic Influence Post Brexit

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Wednesday 12th January 2022

(2 years, 6 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Portrait Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, I do not know whether my noble friend is referring to this Government or the French Government. Our defence capabilities have been consistently growing over the last few years, as noble Lords will know. As I have said, there is no shortage of dialogue between ourselves, Germany, France and other European powers when it comes to issues of security that are in our common interest.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
- Hansard - -

My Lords, the Government seem to believe that the less engagement we have with our European friends, the more influence we have. Surely that is not the case. Now that we have left the European Union, do we not need to find new ways of engaging with our partners in order to look after Britain’s interests?

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Portrait Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park (Con)
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

My Lords, that is not the Government’s view at all. We engage on a very regular basis with our friends and allies across the European Union. It is also worth mentioning the obvious point of NATO. Continental European security is directly linked to UK security. We work closely through NATO, the Joint Expeditionary Force, and bilaterally on counterterror, serious organised crime and illegal migration—a particularly live issue today. As one of only two European nations with truly global military reach, Europe needs our defence and security capability.

Environmental Programme: COP 26

Debate between Lord Watts and Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Monday 9th March 2020

(4 years, 4 months ago)

Lords Chamber
Read Full debate Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts
Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Portrait Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

To be able to meet our commitment of net-zero emissions by 2050, every single department of government has to deliver a plan showing how they intend to do their part. One of the most difficult areas—perhaps the least avoidable—that we will have to tackle is ensuring that existing homes are made more efficient. Money invested in that is not just money spent; it is an investment because you can expect, through normal means, to receive payback and make savings within four to seven years, depending on the work conducted. I am not familiar with the Bill that the noble Lord cites, but energy efficiency is certainly a major priority for the Government.

Lord Watts Portrait Lord Watts (Lab)
- Hansard - -

My Lords, does the refusal to expand Heathrow not just mean that expansion will take place in another part of the world? It will not reduce pollution at all.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Portrait Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
- Hansard - - - Excerpts

The noble Lord is right that it does not matter where an airport or a new runway is built, in terms of carbon emissions. The Government are probably enormously relieved to know that I am not the Minister in charge of airport policy. I afforded myself a quiet cheer when the court made its ruling a few weeks ago.