I wish to make the House aware that I have decided to convene the first meeting of the Locarno Group on 24 November. This advisory group will support and challenge the FCO in its consideration of foreign policy.
When I set out my vision of the future of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 8 September, I emphasised the importance of strengthening the long term capability and international effectiveness of the FCO as an institution at the heart of Government, and improving our country’s capacity to pursue effective foreign policy for the years and decades to come.
I also emphasised the importance of cultivating and retaining the knowledge and expertise that has made the FCO one of the best diplomatic services in the world. The Locarno Group will contribute to this by drawing on the advice of senior FCO alumni.
The group’s discussions will be treated as confidential advice.
A copy of the terms of reference (including a list of group members) and my speech of 8 September has been placed in the Library of the House and published on the FCO website (www.fco.gov.uk).