Tom Tugendhat will warn that for too long Foreign Secretaries have been ‘hobbled’ as their power has been chipped away and handed to other ministers (file pic)
Boris Johnson should be given more power over Brexit, defence and intelligence matters, the chairman of the foreign affairs select committee will say.
Tom Tugendhat will warn that for too long Foreign Secretaries have been ‘hobbled’ as their power has been chipped away and handed to other ministers.
And he will call for the Foreign Office to be handed authority over far more of Britain’s overseas policy.
Speaking at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies tomorrow, he will call for a dramatic overhaul to secure the UK’s role in the world.
He will say: ‘Successive Foreign Secretaries – including the current one – have been hobbled. They’ve had the title, but they haven’t had the power.’
Mr Tugendhat will warn that the Foreign Office ‘has lost control of key aspects of overseas influence like trade and development and has been obliged to take part in a tug-of-war with the Cabinet Office over anything that involved national security and the EU’.
He will add: ‘This has created silos in our foreign policy reducing our ability to balance across areas of influence.’
‘The success or failure of our foreign policy is now more important to the future health and prosperity of our nation than it has been at any time since the end of the Second World War.
‘We need make the Foreign Office the strategic engine of our foreign policy again.’
If Theresa May heeded his call for reform then Mr Johnson would be one of the most powerful Foreign Secretaries of modern times.
Ministers and officials have been locked in a longstanding row over what powers the Foreign Office should have and what should fall to the department for International Development (Dfid).
Dfid was hived off from the Foreign Office and made its own Cabinet department by Tony Blair in 1997.
And Mrs May has stuck to her predecessor’s pledge to spend 0.7 per cent of national income on the department – meaning it has been sheltered from the cuts unleashed on public spending elsewhere.
Mr Tugendhat will warn that the Foreign Office ‘has lost control of key aspects of overseas influence like trade and development’ and has that Boris Johnson (pictured in Buenos Aires last week) should be handed extra power
Many Tory MPs have called for its funding to be cut and said that the Foreign Office should take back control of many of the areas of overseas spending directed by Dfid.
And in recent years the two departments have worked more closely together on overseas development.
But the power of the Foreign Office suffered a fresh knock when the PM created the Brexit department, headed by David Davis, and the department for international trade, headed by Liam Fox.
Their creation hived off significant areas of work and influence from the Foreign Office.
Mr Tugendhat has been tipped as a possible future challenger to Mr Johnson for the Tory leadership.
The ex-army officer also said it would be ‘fantastic’ to head up the Foreign Office himself.