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G7 Summit

Volume 830: debated on Wednesday 24 May 2023


My Lords, I shall now repeat a Statement made in the House of Commons on Monday 22 May by my right honourable friend the Prime Minister. The Statement is as follows:

“Mr Speaker, the whole House will join me in remembering the victims of the horrific Manchester Arena bombing six years ago. Our thoughts are with them and their families. Our thoughts are also with the family of Lee Rigby on the 10th anniversary of his murder, and I pay tribute to his son, Jack, who is honouring his father’s memory by raising money for other bereaved military children. As Jack’s mum says, Lee would be very proud.

I have just returned from the G7 summit in Japan, where I was humbled to be the first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to visit Hiroshima. On behalf of this House and the British people, I recorded our great sorrow at the destruction and human suffering that occurred there, and our fervent resolve that it should never again be necessary to use nuclear weapons.

As I report to the House on the G7 summit, I want to address head on a mistaken view that is heard too often: the idea that Britain is somehow in retreat from the world stage, or that our influence is in decline. I reject that utterly. What we have seen in recent months is this Conservative Government delivering the priorities of the British people and bringing our global influence to bear on some of the world’s biggest challenges. Nowhere is that clearer than Ukraine.

It was a pleasure and a privilege to welcome my friend President Zelensky back to the UK last week. His attendance at the G7 summit was a historic moment. When Putin launched this war, he gambled that our resolve would falter, but he was wrong then and he is wrong now. Russia’s military is failing on the battlefield; its economy is failing at home, as we tighten the strangle- hold of sanctions; and the image of the G7 leaders standing shoulder to shoulder with President Zelensky in Hiroshima sent a powerful message to the world: that we will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes.

Of course, we have seen a huge collective effort across our allies, not least the United States, but I am incredibly proud of our role at the forefront of international support for Ukraine. We were the first country in the world to train Ukrainian troops; the first in Europe to provide lethal weapons; the first to commit tanks; and, just this month, the first to provide long-range weapons. We are now at the forefront of a coalition to train and equip the Ukrainian air force. We gave £2.3 billion in military aid last year—second only to the United States—and we will match or exceed that this year. Putin should know that we are not going anywhere. We know that Ukraine will not only win the war but can and will win a just and lasting peace, based on respect for international law, the principles of the UN charter, and territorial integrity and sovereignty.

We bring the same resolve to the biggest challenge to the long-term security and prosperity of our age: China. As the G7 showed, the UK’s response is completely aligned with our allies. We are working with others to: strengthen our defence ties across the Indo-Pacific; diversify our supply chains in areas such as critical minerals and semiconductors; and prevent China using economic coercion to interfere with the sovereignty of others—concrete actions, not rhetoric. But our economic security is not just about managing the risks of China: we are taking advantage of our post-Brexit freedoms with a hugely ambitious trade policy.

We have concluded negotiations on the CPTPP, a trade deal with the world’s fastest-growing region. We have signed critical minerals partnerships with Canada and Australia, and a semiconductor partnership with Japan. The Windsor Framework secures the free flow of trade within our UK internal market and, on Friday, we announced almost £18 billion of new investment into the UK from Japanese businesses. That is a huge vote of confidence in the United Kingdom, creating significant numbers of good, well-paid jobs and helping to grow the economy.

We are also acting globally to tackle illegal migration. It is the British Government who will determine who comes to Britain. We must stop the boats and break the business model of the criminal gangs. To do that, we are deepening international co-operation to tackle illegal migration, through new deals with Albania and France and, starting just at last week’s Council of Europe, with the EU border force. At this weekend’s summit, we have secured agreement that we will increase G7 co-operation too, so our foreign policy is clearly delivering for the British people. By strengthening our relationships with old friends and new, from the Indo-Pacific to Washington to Europe, we are delivering a diplomatic dividend for the United Kingdom.

That is not all. We have announced billions more for our defence, as the largest European contributor to NATO. We have signed an historic agreement to design and build the AUKUS submarine, giving the UK, Australia and the US interoperable submarine fleets in the Atlantic and the Pacific. We have launched a new programme to build the fighter jets of the future with Italy and Japan. We have announced that in 2025, the carrier strike group will return to the Indo-Pacific once more; and, in Sudan, the British military completed the largest evacuation of any country. If anyone thinks the UK is no longer able to wield hard power in defence of our values, just ask the Ukrainian soldiers driving British tanks or firing our long-range missiles.

All that is how we will prosper at home and defend our values abroad. That is how our foreign policy is delivering for the British people and that is why, on the world stage, Britain is forging ahead—confident, proud and free. I commend this Statement to the House”.

My Lords, I thank the Lord Privy Seal for repeating the Statement. It is very helpful to the House, and I am grateful to him for doing so. I reinforce the comments that he made about the Manchester Arena bombings and the murder of Lee Rigby. There are certain events that, when they happen, all of us remember where we were when we heard about them. I certainly think we still feel the emotions that we felt when we heard about those two.

Having read the communiqué from the summit before I heard the Statement, I have to say the Statement covers a lot more self-congratulatory comments that are not directly related to the summit. That is not the norm, but perhaps I can focus on the parts of the Statement that are relevant. It seemed particularly poignant that we were discussing one ongoing war, in Ukraine, at the scene of a peace memorial park in Hiroshima. That backdrop is a symbol of how the horror of war just haunts for generations.

Putin’s violent and illegal invasion has had an immediate effect on millions of Ukrainians today, and the post-war reconstruction of that amazingly resilient country will take decades. We also have to factor in the longer-term consequences for the future security of Europe. That is why a united front on this issue, here, across Parliament and internationally, is so vital. We continue to welcome the Prime Minister’s commitment to Ukraine, which has the full support of the Opposition Benches. But it is clear that as Ukraine prepares for a counter-offensive, there is no room for complacency or letting our guard down. The international agreement to start providing Ukraine with F16 fighter jets is progress. It is a sign of the unwavering united stand.

New trade restrictions should continue to hamper Russia’s military capabilities, but until a Ukrainian victory delivers peace, we must continue to examine ways of strengthening our support. It is right that the UK’s sanction regime, which I welcome, is broadly aligned with our allies and that designations are being updated. But the noble Lord knows, as I do, that improvements should be made on enforcement. Is my understanding correct that no fines have been imposed for any sanction breaches? Is the noble Lord confident that this is because there have been no breaches? It would be helpful if he was able to provide information and assurances on how we are working with our allies to monitor the effectiveness of sanctions. We have to do this to ensure that breaches are identified and offenders held to account.

As we all know, Ukraine is experiencing a humanitarian crisis as a result of the invasion, which has a wider destabilising effect, including from the weaponisation of food. We welcome that the leaders’ statement on Ukraine references support to vulnerable countries, including from the World Food Programme. However, I ask the noble Lord specifically: how is the UK working with the UN Refugee Council to support those who have fled the conflict into neighbouring countries?

I was pleased to hear the comments on China. The noble Lord will be aware that we have had many debates and questions in this place about our relationship, business and political, with China and the risks posed. The Government’s commitment to de-risking our economic relationship is of course welcome. Does the noble Lord accept that we really need a full audit of our relations and our engagement with Beijing, and will he look into that?

We must remain at all times committed to our democratic values, the rule of law and the primacy of human rights, at home and abroad. The communiqué’s commitment to being

“more united than ever in our determination to meet the global challenges of this moment”

is both welcome and essential across a range of issues, including support for Ukraine and our relationship with China. The communiqué rightly referred to the situation in the East China and South China Seas. If we are to play our part in this joint approach, can the noble Lord tell us how we will strengthen our defence ties across the Indo-Pacific?

There were key issues discussed at the summit that I was surprised were not even mentioned in the Prime Minister’s Statement, including energy security and climate change. Russia’s weaponisation of energy has acted as a wake-up call, but while it illustrates a vulnerability in our supply, it also provides an opportunity to make Britain a clean energy superpower. Homegrown, cheaper, clean energy will cut energy bills, help tackle the cost of living crisis and support manufacturing and other industries. These issues are reflected across the G7.

It is one thing to discuss these issues, but can I press the Lord Privy Seal on how the Government will deliver on accelerating the transition to clean energy agreed at the summit? How will the UK play its part in the collective increase in wind capacity? He will be aware that the Government are opposed to the cleanest, fastest and cheapest energy sources: onshore wind and solar. That will make the objectives harder to achieve, so can he say something about the plans in place to compensate for that government policy?

The Lord Privy Seal will also be aware that there is a direct link between the environmental commitments and energy security. There were key commitments at the summit which are not even mentioned in the Statement. If he is able to say any more, the House would find it very helpful. Can he say why this is and perhaps provide some reassurance on the Government’s commitment on these issues and the action that will follow the summit?

Other issues that were not mentioned in the Statement include: health and pandemic resilience, digital technologies, artificial intelligence, multilateral development banks, human rights and equalities. I appreciate that not everything can be mentioned, but I hope we will hear more about these between now and the next summit.

In the Statement, the Prime Minister spent some time telling us how well things were going for the Government on foreign policy. There is absolutely no doubt that work internationally is crucial to our future as we seek to meet global challenges together. I have to say I found that part of the Statement really disappointing in its complacency and its quite selective reporting of these issues, so can I press him on a couple of points?

The Government promised a free trade deal with the US by the end of last year, but there has been no reference to this. Perhaps President Biden let the cat out of the bag when he was in Belfast, when he disclosed that talks will not begin until 2025. This is a key relationship for the UK. Is the noble Lord able to say whether the Prime Minister raised the timing of the start of those talks with the President to see if they could be brought forward? Despite the focus on trade in the Statement, there is no mention of the commitment to securing free trade agreements covering 80% of UK trade by the end of 2022. Can the Lord Privy Seal say when the Government now expect that commitment to be met?

There is a real fear that the Government’s lack of ambition and action will mean lost opportunities for the jobs and economic growth that we so badly need. We see other countries forging ahead. For example, the Government’s response to the US Inflation Reduction Act is so critical. We should be using that as an opportunity to seek out new opportunities for the UK. He will also be aware of today’s news that UK borrowing has reached significantly higher levels than expected, and of the associated costs of that. Was there discussion about how the Government expect to restore global confidence in the UK economy, which continues to lag behind international competitors in terms of growth and investment?

This was clearly a valuable summit with some very important outcomes, particularly on Ukraine and China. But if the Government really want to be a leader on the international stage, they have to be more proactive in securing a stable and growing economy here in the UK.

My Lords, I would like to thank the noble Lord the Leader for reading out the Statement. Normally I am happy for it not to be read out, but on this occasion I welcome the fact that he did so, because it demonstrates the gulf between the Prime Minister’s self-congratulatory posturing and the substance of what was actually discussed at the summit.

The Prime Minister devotes one-quarter of the Statement to Ukraine. On these Benches we strongly support the UK efforts in supporting the Ukrainian people in their struggle against Russia. But all the Statement does is boast about what the UK has already done, not what the Prime Minister thinks the summit might have achieved in supporting Ukraine in the future. The Statement then speaks briefly about the discussion about China in Hiroshima, before veering away from the summit altogether and making a series of breathless assertions about how terrific the Government’s foreign policy is. These take up getting on for half of the total content of the Prime Minister’s Statement. I will just raise two of them.

First, the Prime Minister talks about our post-Brexit, “hugely ambitious trade policy”. He particularly basks in the glory of deals done with the CPTPP, Australia and New Zealand. The noble Lord knows as well as the rest of the House that these deals promise potential increases in our level of trade which are a small fraction of the loss of trade we have suffered as a result of Brexit. Could he remind the House of the increase in GDP these deals promise according to the Government’s own impact assessments compared with the reduction in GDP of Brexit estimated by the OBR?

Secondly, the Prime Minister talks about the carrier strike force group returning to the Indo-Pacific region by 2025. Could the noble Lord say how many ships this strike force group will consist of? Is it not the case that we have so few frigates that any strike force group we send will be a sitting target, unless it has a huge amount of covering support from allies? We are deluding ourselves to suggest that we have the capacity to provide any meaningful naval force so far from home waters.

Compared with the Prime Minister’s Statement, the communiqué from the summit, which runs to some 41 pages, covers substantial proposals on some of the most important issues facing humanity. As the Prime Minister did not think any of these were worthy of a mention in his Statement, I wonder if the noble Lord could enlighten us. For example, the summit reaffirmed support for the sustainable development goals to be achieved by 2030. In particular, it stresses the importance of mobilising public and private sector resources for this. In light of the Government’s abandonment of the 0.7% target for development assistance, can the noble Lord explain what the Government are doing to reinforce their efforts in this area? Given the importance of the issue, can he say which UK Government Minister will attend the SDG summit in September? On climate change, the summit reaffirmed its support for “robust” pledges of funding for the green climate fund. What sort of robust pledge has the Prime Minister made, or does he plan to make, on this issue?

The other issues discussed in Hiroshima, as the noble Baroness already mentioned, according to the communiqué were disarmament, the global economy, the environment, energy, economic security, food security, health, labour, education, digital, science and technology, gender and countering terrorism. None of these subjects rates a single mention in the Prime Minister’s Statement. Could the noble Lord the Leader tell the House whether the Prime Minister expressed a view on any of these issues and, if so, what it was?

When Boris Johnson was Prime Minister, we became used to Statements which were full of bombast, self-congratulation and exaggeration. It is depressing to find that his latest successor has decided to follow the same songbook. In doing so, he does a disservice to Parliament and to the country.

That was one of the more jaundiced responses I have heard to a Statement, even in the history of some of the responses from those particular Benches.

I will answer some of the points. The Prime Minister certainly addressed a number of these things in the conversation. One of the key features of the summit, which I believe without any bombast, was that it was extraordinarily successful, and the atmosphere was very positive. The arrival of President Zelensky ignited the summit. I totally agree with what the noble Baroness opposite said about the poignant symbolism of Hiroshima and the desperate need for the world to unite, so far as we can, against the bestiality of war. The climate at the summit was extremely positive.

I will not apologise for the Prime Minister pointing out some of the many successes and progressive actions that he has taken since he became Prime Minister, a number of which were mentioned in the Statement. There is no doubt that we have seen a series of successful summits and engagements, including bilaterals with France and the immensely successful bilateral—probably the most successful ever—with Japan. The range of commitments that Japan and the UK have made to each other is certainly unprecedented in the post-war era. Also, I will not deride the trade partnerships we are working on globally; the Statement referred to the Council of Europe, and we have had the G7 successes.

I will address some of the questions. I was asked whether there was a discussion of development finance—yes, there was. The Prime Minister confirmed that the UK aims to mobilise up to $40 billion by the end of 2027 through our British investment partnerships. We have already been active since 2021 and, so far, have created 30,000 jobs and supported 950,000 jobs directly.

I heard the comments about the international financial system reform, and I agree that there are issues here. The sustainable development goals are off track, and we need to build a bigger, better and fairer international financial system that meets future challenges. That means unlocking more finance from international financial institutions such as the World Bank, and from the private sector, to support the poorest countries. The UK, at the G7 and outside it, is working with others to reform the system, and we are playing our part to unlock more finance. Since COP 26 we have announced guarantees to expand multilateral development bank lending by more than £6 billion. The Government are active in those areas, even if they were not mentioned in the Statement.

On global health, the global health framework set out the UK Government’s ambition to play a leading role in improving health globally and in building resilience to future threats. At the G7 we endorsed the Hiroshima Vision for Equitable Access to Medical Countermeasures and agreed to work with the G20 to ensure equitable access to safe, effective and affordable vaccines. These positive things were done and discussed, even if they were not mentioned in the Statement, which, understandably, majored—as the noble Baroness opposite did, rightly—on the crisis in Ukraine.

On climate and nature, which are also important, the G7 ended public support for the international unabated fossil fuel energy sector in 2022. It has done that already but we will, and must, continue to build on it. We are working with our neighbours domestically to develop the North Sea into a green power plant of Europe, and we will meet the $100 billion climate finance goal this year. At the G7 we have committed to spend £11.6 billion of international climate finance.

I agree with the noble Lord that food security is important. Together with guest countries such as India and Brazil—it was good that they were there, as well as representatives of smaller nations such as the Cook Islands and the Comoros—we agreed the Hiroshima Action Statement for Resilient Global Food Security. We remain absolutely committed to that. As I heard my noble friend Lord Goldsmith say earlier, the Minister for Development announced a further £143 million in humanitarian support for crises in east Africa for this financial year. A lot is being done.

I was asked about the Indo-Pacific. It is of immense importance; it is critical to our economy, security and ambition to support open societies. I disagree with the noble Lord’s rather jaundiced view; that region is central to global and UK supply chains. Some 60% of global trade already goes through the region, and that is set to increase further. We are deepening defence ties via GCAP and AUKUS; we have engaged with more than 40 countries in the region with the carrier strike group, about which the noble Lord was a little disparaging; and we intend to strengthen further ties.

I was asked by the noble Baroness about the state of discussions. We obviously hope for good and positive discussions with the US. I cannot comment on what may or may not have been said to President Biden, but it is an area of important, ongoing discussion. We have a strong free trade agreement policy, which will put the UK at the centre of a network of modern deals that spans the Atlantic, the Pacific and our friends in Europe. We have secured trade deals with 73 countries, plus EU partners, accounting for £852 billion in UK bilateral trade in 2021.

In conclusion, I hope I have not belittled the very important remarks that the noble Baroness made. I am very grateful for the comments from both the noble Lord and the noble Baroness on the horror of Putin’s war and for their support on that. We have sanctioned roughly 1,500 individuals—I will get the exact figure for the noble Baroness. It is certainly not the case that sanctions are not biting and being felt to bite; the G7 agreed to increase them.

My Lords, many issues were covered in the G7 and in the Statement. Does my noble friend the Minister care to reflect on one of them, which is mentioned only briefly in the Statement: the huge importance of Japan to our future prosperity and defence? Japan is the third industrial power in the world and, in fact, much richer than China in second. Statistically, it is enormously active. It has been a massive investor in this country in the past, and I believe it can be again.

Is it not important to remind ourselves that, through closeness with Japan in dealing with security issues—the recent agreements, the building of combat aircraft for the future and the whole range of innovations—this is a nation with which we should stay extremely close? We should reflect on and remember that in our future policies. I declare an interest as an adviser to a number of Japanese companies. Does my noble friend the Minister acknowledge that Japan and Britain can again be, as they have been in the past, very important partners?

I strongly agree with my noble friend. Indeed, I pay the most fulsome tribute to the Japanese Prime Minister for the conduct of the G7 discussions. To repeat what I said, the depth of the agreements between the UK and Japan is reflected in the historic Hiroshima accord—the new agreements on defence, trade, investment, science and technology collaboration, and tackling global issues such as climate change. These are hugely important. There is the new UK-Japanese defence co-operation; the new cyber partnership; a set of science and technology programmes we will work on together; the semiconductors partnership that my noble friend mentioned; and a renewable energy partnership, which I think should delight the noble Lord, Lord Newby, aimed at accelerating the deployment of clean energy in the UK, Japan and third countries. It was extremely positive. The Prime Minister has reflected the warmth of the feeling that he has towards Japan; I think he felt that was strongly reciprocated by the G7 hosts, and we are very grateful for that.

My Lords, I know a little about the background to the murder of Lee Rigby. It was a particularly cowardly event, taking down a well-versed and popular servant of the military of the United Kingdom.

The other point I make by way of a preliminary is that I personally support, as indeed we all do on these Benches, the Government’s position on Ukraine. Significant consequences are arising out of that military engagement and, although this is perhaps not the time to discuss them, the United Kingdom’s support for Ukraine is absolutely fundamental.

Sometimes, reports of such things as the G7 repay rather closer attention to detail. At page 3 of 10 in the print I have, it says:

“Russia’s military is failing on the battlefield”.

Would it not be prudent to wait until we see the outcome of the spring offensive of the Ukraine Government before reaching a conclusion of that kind? Further, on page 7 of the print I have, it is indeed welcome that there is £18 billion of new investment into the United Kingdom from Japanese businesses. Can the Minister say what financial support the United Kingdom has offered and how much? Because it is being suggested that there were very substantial financial inducements.

Finally, on the question of the carrier strike group returning to the Indo-Pacific once more, the last report about one of the carriers that I have been able to find states that on 13 February, HMS “Queen Elizabeth” set sail for a month’s training but without any aircraft. That, of course, reflects the fact that we do not have sufficient F35 aircraft to allow the training of those pilots who are scheduled to fly them. So perhaps a little more candour would have made the Statement rather more credible.

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for his support for the overall stance vis-à-vis Putin’s aggression and our support for Ukraine. Since I had run out of time, I was not able to be warm enough about the consistent support from the parties opposite and indeed throughout the House. It has been deeply valued, not only by the Government but, as I know, beyond these shores and in Ukraine. I hear what he says about the carrier strike force. The agreement is to deploy it, and that proposal has been greatly welcomed by our allies. The previous deployment was very widely welcomed by 40 countries; let us look forward with ambition to a positive outcome from this next deployment.

I listened carefully to what the noble Lord said. It is absolutely right to say that war is an ongoing and unpredictable thing best not entered into, ever—but it is forced on us by Mr Putin. It is undoubtedly the case, and we should not forget it, that the heroism of the Ukrainian army and the Ukrainian people has led to the recovery of substantial territory that Mr Putin thought that he would annex. Indeed, I suspect that Mr Putin thought he might annex Kyiv very swiftly at the start, and it was British support, among other things, that enabled that not to happen. It is my judgment that, since Russia’s illegal invasion, Ukraine has turned the tide, regaining territory, as I say, and it has done it thanks to the bravery of its forces but also to the record-breaking level of international support which was reaffirmed in the G7. We will continue to accelerate support. We have seen the Storm Shadow missiles and the training of Ukrainian soldiers, and that effort will continue.

Once upon a time, someone far more distinguished than I spoke from this Dispatch Box, and I am certainly not going to make any forecasts about the outcomes of war, but I will say that the resolve of the Ukrainian people is unbreakable. They are determined to succeed, in our judgment they will succeed, and we will support them for as long as it takes.

My Lords, following on from the Minister’s remarks, I have to say that, having visited Irpin and Bucha and met some of the defenders and survivors of those towns where the Russian advance on Kyiv was stopped, I very much echo his comments about the Ukrainian people, who are the ones bearing the enormous human weight that we have to keep acknowledging.

However, my question follows on from the comments of the noble Lord, Lord Newby, and the noble Baroness, Lady Smith. There is a word that is missing from the Statement—shockingly, I have to say. The word “climate” does not appear in the Statement, despite the fact that the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, and the refresh as well, say that Britain will make a major priority of its international efforts in

“leading globally on climate change and biodiversity loss”.

That is despite the fact that a large amount of the coverage of the G7 very much focused on its failures on climate. I will quote just one Financial Times headline:

“G7 disappoints on climate progress without deadlines on gas and coal use”.

This is in the context of what was happening in the world as the G7 was meeting. Italy, Croatia, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia all suffered significant deadly floods. In Canada, unseasonal wildfires have burned an area the size of Wales. India is facing even more potentially deadly temperatures that are unsurvivable. Can the Minister explain how it came to be, in that context, that the word “climate” did not appear in the Statement?

My Lords, I have in the past written Statements for Prime Ministers. The Prime Minister writes his own Statements, but if the noble Baroness reads Hansard she will find that there was a substantial discussion of these matters. As I said in my response to the very legitimate question from the noble Lord, Lord Newby, and the noble Baroness, Lady Smith, the importance of the green transition was reaffirmed and we are committed to increased support for renewables. As I said, the G7 ended public support for the fossil fuel energy sector in 2022 and continues to advance on that in its ambitions.

Sometimes, when I hear the noble Baroness, one forgets that we were the first major economy to legislate to end our contribution to climate change by 2050. One forgets, listening to her, that our 2030 nationally determined contribution is one of the most ambitious contributions in the world. One does not hear from her that between 1990 and 2021, we cut emissions by 48% while growing our economy by 65%. One does not hear from her that we have decarbonised faster than any other G7 country and that we have set out to be an exemplar for others. The Government’s support is accelerating the production of clean energy. In 2020 renewable electricity generation accounted for 41.4% of total electricity generation. Why does the noble Baroness, who believes so passionately in these things, not sometimes help to talk up what we are achieving, instead of constantly talking it down?

My Lords, I reinforce the cross-party unity on the issue of Ukraine. Might this be an appropriate time to congratulate all our fellow citizens who have been giving personal support to Ukrainians by hosting them in their own homes? This is now going into a second year and is a huge commitment which the British people are making directly to Ukrainians.

However, beyond the G7, alas, support for our robust action in Ukraine is less uniform. It is very notable that among our Commonwealth partners there has been less support for Ukraine and, indeed, too much support being given to Russia, particularly in buying Russian products and Russian oil. I am thinking particularly of India and South Africa. These are very close Commonwealth partners of ours. Will the noble Lord say something about what British diplomacy is seeking to do to bring about stronger support for our action on Ukraine from South Africa and India in particular? It is a big mistake to think that the Ukrainian war is an assault on just the European order: it is an assault on the international order and it is vital that our Commonwealth allies and friends are as robust in resisting it as we are.

On the section of the Statement on trade, I support what my noble friend Lady Smith and the noble Lord, Lord Newby, said about it being deeply complacent. To take a specific example of how complacent it is, is the noble Lord aware that we have lost half of our car manufacturing capacity as a country in the last seven years? We have done that almost entirely because of a deterioration in the terms of trade with our European partners and lack of investment, including investment from Japanese car manufacturers. They may be very strong on the rhetoric of partnership, because they are very polite—the Japanese are a notably polite nation—but when it comes to actual investment, they have been cutting investment, not increasing it. Unless we can deal with this issue of rules of origin and our lack of battery manufacturing capacity, we could lose the other half of our car manufacturing capacity in the next few years too.

Leaving the complacency and self-congratulation aside, does the noble Lord support urgent trade negotiations with our European partners to get a better deal for our car manufacturers, in particular, an industrial policy that sees us starting to produce those vital components, and big new industrial sectors, notably battery manufacturing, without which we could see a really significant loss of industrial capacity in this country over the next few years?

I thank the noble Lord for his comments. I agree that the challenge from Mr Putin is not just to Europe but to the international world order. Our expectation is that any just peace must recognise and come according to the rules of international law. The United Kingdom and others have fully accepted and understood the diplomatic challenge of making the case across the world—among our friends and sometimes people who are not so much our friends—that Putin’s illegal war must be confronted. That was reflected in the extraordinary support for the UN resolutions at the start of the conflict. Obviously, this is ongoing and is an effort that we must and will keep up. I will not comment on the specifics of what went on at the summit because I do not have full read-outs, but obviously it was important that India and Brazil were there. The Prime Minister met Prime Minister Modi in the margins of the G7 on 21 May. There were very positive reflections on the deep ties between the UK and India. Both leaders agreed to work intensely towards a UK-India free trade agreement, which is ambitious but would be mutually beneficial. We committed strongly to support India’s G20 presidency.

I am sorry that the noble Lord is less than rapturous about the inward investment to which I referred. The Covid pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis shocked supply chains in the EV industry. That has been a problem for manufacturers across Europe, not just in the UK. We need a joint UK-EU solution and have already raised the matter with the European Commission, at both official and ministerial level. We are ready to work with it and industry to find a solution, and will continue to develop and invest in the UK’s world-leading automotive sector. The Government have committed a record £211 million to battery research. I acknowledge that there is ongoing work to do in the sector but we are ready and talking to our European friends on these matters, quite contrary to the noble Lord’s implication.

My Lords, I will resist the urge to turn this into a to and fro, although, given that the Minister came back to me rather robustly on climate, I point out that the noble Lord, Lord Adonis, indirectly referred to one of the major reasons for the reduction in the UK’s carbon emissions: the collapse of our manufacturing sector. The Committee on Climate Change says that we need to shift to looking at consumption emissions, on which figures the UK reduction is considerably less than on territorial emissions.

The question that I actually wanted to raise was about the Statement’s reference to the AUKUS submarine deal. Since that was announced, there has been considerable debate. One issue on which there is grave concern is the potential risk to nuclear non-proliferation. Australia is the first non-nuclear-armed state to remove nuclear material from the IAEA inspection system. That sets a new precedent about which many people are expressing concern. The IAEA is of course not able to monitor outside the current nuclear powers’ naval nuclear reactors, especially on submarines, given their secret location and being inaccessible while submerged. Do the Government acknowledge that there is international concern? What are they doing to address those nuclear non-proliferation concerns?

My Lords, I will not repeat the facts that I gave the noble Baroness, which stand for themselves. I am sorry if they felt robust. They were not intended to be robust; they were intended to be informative, but there we are.

So far as the AUKUS arrangement is concerned, I do not want to trespass into internal considerations of a great ally such as Australia. I hear what the noble Baroness says, but the reality is that this is an enormously significant agreement. I give my right honourable friend the Prime Minister full credit for it. International co-operation on submarine development and compatibility is a real step forward. The security of Australia—a much-valued ally and friend of this country—is important to us, as is the security of the Pacific; as I said, 60% of global trade will move through that region. Co-operation with Australia in Five Eyes and other sensitive arrangements is an important part of not only our security but that of our allies, and of world security. I make no apologies for the agreement.