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Scotland ‘benefits hugely’ from UK’s international work – Alister Jack

The Scottish Secretary will face questions from a Commons committee on work to ‘promote Scotland internationally’.

Alister Jack has said Scotland “benefits hugely” from the UK Government’s international work ahead of an appearance at a Commons committee discussing how Scotland is promoted abroad.

On Monday, the Scottish Secretary and other ministers will speak to the Scottish Affairs Committee, which is conducting an inquiry into how Scottish trade and culture is promoted internationally.

A report provided to the committee noted the UK has 282 diplomatic missions covering 180 countries and territories around the world.

It comes after a row between the Scottish and UK governments on Holyrood ministers’ visits abroad.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverley told officials to take a “strengthened approach” to visits from devolved ministers abroad and to ensure Westminster representatives attend any meetings with foreign governments.

This angered Scottish External Affairs Secretary Angus Robertson, who accused the Foreign Secretary of making “misleading” statements as he called for the guidance to be withdrawn.

Gender Recognition Reform Bill
Angus Robertson accused the foreign Secretary of being ‘misleading’ (Jane Barlow/PA)

Ahead for the committee appearance, Mr Jack said: “Our recent report shows that Scotland benefits hugely from the scale and reach of the UK Government’s international engagement and influence.

“From international security to trade and culture, the UK Government’s international departments and agencies are securing the interest of all parts of the United Kingdom.

“The UK and Scottish governments enjoy a positive and productive working relationship promoting Scotland overseas, and contributing to growing Scotland’s economy.

“On trade and investment – including Scottish agriculture, universities, food and drink – we can and do work together well. Our recent delegations to New York’s Tartan Week are a great example of Scotland’s two governments collaborating.”

Foreign Office minister David Rutley said British diplomats promoted Scotland’s “rich culture and heritage” around the world.

He said: “The UK’s permanent membership of the UN Security Council and our leading position in Nato, the G7, the G20 and other global organisations enable us to make progress on the vital issues that matter to everyone in the UK – including Ukraine, climate change and human rights.

“The FCDO’s joint HQ in East Kilbride has almost 1,000 staff who are at the heart of shaping and delivering UK foreign policy as a force for good in the world.”

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