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Britain's Values in a Networked World

Volume 515: debated on Wednesday 15 September 2010

I wish to make the House aware that I will deliver a speech entitled “Britain’s Values in a Networked World” at the Old Hall and Crypt, Lincoln’s Inn today. This is the third in a series of four major policy speeches which set out the Government’s active and activist approach to foreign policy.

In this speech I will address how this Government will pursue a foreign policy that remains true to our values while promoting Britain’s security and prosperity. As part of this approach, I will be making three specific announcements.

First, I am determined to strengthen the FCO’s institutional capability on human rights both at home and overseas, building on the work of previous Governments. Following the publication of the consolidated guidance to intelligence officers and service personnel, the FCO will be re-issuing its guidance to its own staff on the need to report any alleged incidents of torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment that they encounter in the course of their work. I will make this guidance public.

Secondly, I have decided to convene an advisory group on human rights to include key NGOs, independent experts and others. It will meet regularly and have direct access to Ministers. This group will ensure that we will benefit from outside advice on the conduct of our policy.

Thirdly, as I explained to the Foreign Affairs Committee on 8 September the FCO will strengthen its human rights reporting and make it available to a wider audience. Going forward, we will report to Parliament and the public, both through a Command Paper and by making best use of the internet.

A copy of my speech will be placed in the Library of the House and published on the FCO website (www.fco.gov.uk) by 16 September.