Integrated Review Set To Be Published In March

A major review of Britain's defence and foreign policy will be published in March following delays caused by COVID-19, a Foreign Office minister has said.

James Cleverly, Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, told MPs the "full conclusions of the Integrated Review" would be published next month.

It has been billed by the Government as the deepest and most radical re-evaluation of the UK’s place in the world since the Cold War ended.

The review was due to be published last autumn but has been delayed because of the focus on the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Cleverly told the Commons: "I am pleased to be able to tell the House that the Government intends to publish the review in March."

Shouts questioning which year could be heard from some MPs in the chamber, with Mr Cleverly adding: "This year."

He later claimed the review will help "unleash" the UK’s post-Brexit foreign policy, adding: "2021 will be a year of leadership for global Britain as a force for good in the world."

Mr Cleverly also said: "The Integrated Review will send a message about what the UK stands for as an independent actor on the global stage and how we will back this up with action to secure our interests and also defend our values."

Watch: The Integrated Review explained.

He explained the Prime Minister had "already announced the first conclusion" of the review when he outlined an additional £16.5bn to the Ministry of Defence’s budget over the next four years.

Mr Cleverly's remarks came after Conservative former defence minister Tobias Ellwood warned a second Cold War has "already begun" and China is seeking to split the world into "two spheres of influence".

Mr Ellwood added China represents "the biggest geopolitical long-term threat we face".

The MP for Bournemouth East, who chairs the Defence Select Committee, made the claims as Parliament debated the Integrated Review.

Mr Ellwood told the Commons: "For decades the West has turned a blind eye to its human rights abuses, its democratic deficit, hoping China would mature into a global, responsible citizen.

"Well, we have now realised that is not going to happen. China’s conduct in the pandemic, in Hong Kong, in the South China Sea along with its continued abuse of WTO rules and saddling dozens of countries into debt confirms China is pursuing a competing, long-term, geopolitical agenda which – left unchecked – will progressively see our world splinter into two spheres of influence.

Tobias Ellwood MP warned China represents "the biggest geopolitical long-term threat we face" (Picture: PA).
Tobias Ellwood MP warned China represents "the biggest geopolitical long-term threat we face" (Picture: PA).

"Economically, technologically and militarily China will challenge and possibly overtake US dominance in our lifetimes.

"Now militarily, China’s navy grows by the size of our navy every single year, it’s now introducing its own fifth-generation air force and its army is now the largest in the world.

"They are sending more rockets into space than all the other nations combined and perfecting space-based weapons.

"In my view, Cold War Two has already begun, but we are still in denial and too timid to call it out given China’s mighty economic clout."

Also speaking during the debate, former Labour leader and now independent MP Jeremy Corbyn said that cutting the aid budget sends a "terrible message" to the rest of the world.

Cover image: MOD.

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