Equipping the Government for Brexit Contents

Conclusions and recommendations

Funding the FCO after Brexit

1.We recommend that the new Government commits to a substantial increase in the funding available to the FCO commensurate with the enormity of the task it now faces. The FCO should be able to use this additional funding wherever in the world it deems necessary, on the programmes or personnel it considers essential to support the country’s reputation, security, values and prosperity through this period of transition. (Paragraph 8)

Changes to machinery of Government

2.The Prime Minister should give the FCO the resources it needs to fill any gaps in its capacity left by the departure of officials to other Departments as part of Whitehall’s management of the EU exit process. The Government should also ensure that those officials can be re-integrated into the FCO or the Department for International Trade when the exit process is complete, to add their expertise and experience to the country’s overall representational capacity in the long term. (Paragraph 13)

Absence of contingency planning

3.The previous Government’s considered view not to instruct key Departments including the FCO to plan for the possibility that the electorate would vote to leave the EU amounted to gross negligence. It has exacerbated post-referendum uncertainty both within the UK and amongst key international partners, and made the task now facing the new Government substantially more difficult.
(Paragraph 19)

4.The lack of contingency planning inevitably means that the Government’s plans are tentative and just emerging. We intend to examine these at the earliest available opportunity, including how the Government plans to consult other interested parties in the UK. (Paragraph 20)

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20 July 2016