New UK Prime Minister appoints long term Somaliland friends in cabinet

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UK Government Recognition of Somaliland

Volume 707: debated on Tuesday 18 January 2022

Gavin Williamson

The hon. Lady raises a very important point. The key reason for this debate is to discuss the fact that Somaliland has developed so much. In those years of conflict—where so many Somalilanders had their lives under threat, and so many hundreds of thousands were displaced, both internally within Somaliland and externally—that dream and that vision of creating their own homeland once again and re-establishing those old territorial borders burned bright, and that is what they were able to achieve in 1991.

Mr Andrew Mitchell

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend, who has brought this most important subject to the Floor of the House. I visited Hargeisa when I was Secretary of State for International Development, and we spent quite a lot of time on exactly the issues that he and my hon. Friend the Member for Tonbridge and Malling (Tom Tugendhat), the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee have just raised. There is an enormous degree of normalcy there. The democratic structures, when they have elections, have held in extraordinarily difficult circumstances. There is proper governance. I have travelled on a bus in Hargeisa that was a result of British investment. The case that my right hon. Friend is making about Somaliland becoming an independent state is one where the Foreign Office normally takes the view that it does not want to lead it, but it would support it. Is he aware that the African Union is at least passively acquiescent in that view, if not actively supportive?

Tom Tugendhat

I am delighted that my right hon. Friend has secured this important debate. Many of us have been supporting Somaliland as an independent state, and we very much welcome the fact that he is here. On that point, he will know no doubt that many of Her Majesty’s naval ships for 100 or more years have had lascars from Somaliland—stokers and others—who built the first mosques in this country. Does he not agree that recognising the Somalilanders here in the UK is also about recognising our own past and our own future together as investors in a new Africa? It would demonstrate that independent states that govern themselves well in democracies can succeed, and we can partner with them.

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Minister of State (Minister for Development)


The Minister’s responsibilities include:

  • International Development Strategy, Official Development Assistance (ODA) allocations and Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI)
  • Commonwealth
  • British Investment Partnerships
  • international finance
  • global education, gender and equality
  • humanitarian and migration
  • safeguarding
  • research, science and evidence

The Minister attends Cabinet.

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