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Embassies: Closures

Volume 502: debated on Tuesday 8 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many British (a) embassies, (b) high commissions and (c) consulates have closed since 1997; what arrangements have been made to safeguard British interests in these circumstances; and if he will make a statement. (301878)

I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 9 July 2009, Official Report, column 948W and the answer by my right hon. Friend, the then Minister for Europe, (Mr. Hoon) on 6 February 2007, Official Report, column 821W.

Of the 31 diplomatic posts closed, 18 were consulates or other subordinate posts in countries where our Embassy or High Commission remains open. Elsewhere, we have made arrangements to safeguard British interests through the non-resident accreditation of a British Ambassador based in a neighbouring country, or the appointment of an Honorary Consul.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office continuously reviews the deployment of its resources and aligns them flexibly in line with UK interests to the benefit of the British taxpayer.