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Foreign Affairs Committee Report: Consular Response to Covid-19

Volume 732: debated on Tuesday 2 May 2023

11. What steps his Department has taken in response to the recommendations of the Foreign Affairs Committee's third report of Session 2019-21, "Flying Home: The FCO’s consular response to the COVID-19 pandemic", HC 643, published on 28 July 2020. (904722)

As set out in our consular and crisis strategy 2022, we have an extensive programme of lessons learned from previous crises. We continue to improve our crisis response capability systems and structures.

Well, it clearly did not work, did it? The Select Committee report in 2020 showed how the FCDO was well behind other countries in getting people home when covid hit, and the Sudan crisis seems to show that those lessons have still not been learned. Although our defence forces were ready to move rapidly, the Foreign Office was still dragging its feet, once again ignoring those with leave to remain in the UK, who often have crucial roles in the NHS. When will the Minister get a grip of his Department?

The safety of all British nationals in Sudan remains our utmost priority. We on the Conservative side, and many across the House, will welcome the successful evacuation of more than 2,300 passengers.