Inquiry launched on Friday 12 July 2019. Oral evidence ongoing.
Scope of the inquiry
The future of Britain's diplomatic relationship with Europe: follow up inquiry
The Committee's Second Report of Session 2017-19, The future of UK diplomacy in Europe, concluded:
During this inquiry, we received mixed messages from the Foreign Secretary, the Minister for Europe, and the FCO Permanent Under Secretary. On the one hand, we were told that the FCO was not "doing Brexit" and it was focussing its attention on the capitals of the EU27. However, we were also told that the FCO had a crucial role to play in Brexit and that it was leading on negotiations on CFSP/CSDP and on other issues such as Gibraltar and sanctions. While the FCO said that it provided a platform for HMG in Europe, including the Department for Exiting the EU, it is unclear what this means in practice. [Para 42]
Since the publication of the Committee's report, the FCO's role and influence during the EU Exit negotiations remains unclear. The Committee has agreed to follow-up on its earlier inquiry and will scrutinise how the FCO has plugged into the cross-Whitehall decision-making network, how the information-gathering process of the FCO and its Europe Network works in practice, and the FCO's interactions with crucial interlocutors in European capitals during the negotiations.