UK politics live: Dominic Cummings agrees to give evidence on government handling of Covid, MPs told | Politics

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Good morning. Following the publication of the government’s integrated review of security, defence and foreign policy yesterday, Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, will be giving a speech at lunchtime at the Aspen Security Forum warning that democracy is in retreat. He will say:


Democracy is in retreat. This decade, the combined GDP of autocratic regimes is expected to exceed the combined GDP of the world’s democracies, but think about what that means for a second.

Tyranny is richer than freedom, and that matters to us here at home. Because stable, freedom-respecting democracies are much less likely to go to war, house terrorists or trigger large scale flows of migrants and they are generally, not always, but generally easier to trade with, and easier to cooperate with to solve our shared problems.

According to extracts released in advance, Raab will also say that the UK’s mission is to be “a force for good in the world”. But his message has been somewhat undermined by a leak obtained by HuffPost’s Arj Singh revealing that Raab told Foreign Office staff that the UK would seek trade deals with countries with poor human rights records. Raab said:


I squarely believe we ought to be trading liberally around the world.

If we restrict it to countries with ECHR-level [European convention on human rights-level] standards of human rights, we’re not going to do many trade deals with the growth markets of the future.

The Foreign Office said the original HuffPost report misrepresented what Raab actually said. It released a further extract from what Raab said, showing that while he believed in engaging with countries with poor human rights record, he accepted there were limits. Raab also said:


There will be moments, and I can think of behaviour that would cross the line and render a country beyond the pale.

But fundamentally I’m a big believer in engaging to try and exert positive influence even if it’s only a moderating influence, and I hope that calibrated approach gives you a sense that it’s not just words – we back it up with action.

Here is the agenda for the day.

9.30am: Dominic Cummings, the former chief adviser to the PM, gives evidence to the Commons science committee about a new UK research funding agency; at 11am Kwasi Kwarteng, the business secretary, will give evidence.

10am: George Osborne, the former Conservative chancellor, gives evidence to a Lords committee about relations with China.

12pm: Boris Johnson faces Sir Keir Starmer at PMQs.

12.15pm: Vaughan Gething, the Welsh government’s health minister, holds a briefing on Covid.

1pm: Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, gives a speech at the Aspen security forum.

1.30pm: Downing Street is due to hold its daily lobby briefing.

2pm: Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, holds a press conference.

Politics Live has been mostly about Covid for the last year and I will be covering UK coronavirus developments today, as well as non-coronavirus Westminster politics. For global coronavirus news, do read our global live blog.

I try to monitor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions, and if they are of general interest, I will post the question and reply above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.

If you want to attract my attention quickly, it is probably better to use Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

Hafta Ichi
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: UK politics live: Dominic Cummings agrees to give evidence on government handling of Covid, MPs told | Politics

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