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Diplomatic Service

Volume 888: debated on Wednesday 12 March 1975

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3.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he has any conveniently available figures showing how many members of the Diplomatic Service were born in Scotland.

In selecting members of the Diplomatic Service we are not influenced by where they were born, provided that they meet the usual nationality requirements. Figures showing their place of birth are not, I am afraid, readily available.

Although the Scottish National Party is absent from foreign affairs Questions, may we be told what the effect would be of their talk of a separate Scottish diplomatic service?

I think that such talk is sheer nonsense, and of course the consequence of such a move would be greatly to diminish the influence of Scots within the Diplomatic Corps. It is interesting to note that the proportion of recent recruits to the Diplomatic Service born in Scotland is about equal to Scotland's share of United Kingdom population, and the same applies to graduate entrants from Scottish universities over the past five years. If my hon. Friend looks at the Diplomatic List he will see that there are 10 pages of names beginning with "Mac ", and I think that even the Scottish Nationalists would be unhappy to see all those valuable Scots withdrawn from the Diplomatic Service.