Both the merger and the integrated review are evidence of this Government’s commitment to a unified British foreign and development policy that will maximise our impact around the world, project our values and be a stronger force for good—they go hand in hand.
The Bond network says that it has not been consulted on this merger and the integrated review has been restarted behind closed doors. Will the Government commit to meeting Bond and other civil society organisations so that those on the frontline can inform the new Department’s aid priorities?
Last week I asked the Secretary of State what partner organisations and non-governmental organisations were consulted prior to the announcement of the merger of the Department for International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. She said that the statement on the merger was first made to Parliament and that there has been ongoing consultation since then. This stands in stark contradiction to what the Prime Minister said previously when he told this House that there had been
“massive consultation over a long period.”—[Official Report, 16 June 2020; Vol. 677, c. 678.]
Therefore, was the Prime Minister aware he had taken a decision without any evidence to support it, or did he mislead Parliament to create an illusion of legitimacy for this ideologically driven, disastrous merger?