PM statement on the G20 Summit: 11 September 2023

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak made a statement to the House of Commons on the recent G20 Summit in Delhi, India

The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP

Mr Speaker, the whole House will join me in sending our sympathies to the people of Morocco following the devastating earthquake. Our thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones, the injured and those bravely engaged in rescue efforts.

We also remember the victims and loved ones of the terrorist attacks that took place in the United States 22 years ago today, including many British citizens.

Mr Speaker, I’ve just returned from the G20 Summit in India and for the record, let me declare that as is a matter of public record, I and my family are of Indian origin, my wife and her family are Indian citizens, with financial interests in India.

At the Summit I had three aims:

First, to increase the diplomatic pressure on Russia and call out their shameful disruption of global food supplies in the Black Sea.

Second, to show the world that democracies like the UK – not authoritarian regimes – are leading the fight on global challenges like development and climate change.

And third, to strengthen ties and forge new partnerships to deliver jobs, growth and security for the British people.

Mr Speaker, the world faces a moment of danger, volatility and increasingly rapid change.

But even as most G20 leaders came together in Delhi in a spirit of cooperation, one did not. For two years now, Putin has lacked the courage to face his G20 peers.

Day after day, his actions cause horrendous suffering in Ukraine, violating the UN Charter, threatening European security, and disrupting global energy and food supplies.

The spill-overs have driven up prices here at home, and they are hurting people all around the world.

Russia’s withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative exposes their willingness to spread that suffering further. While Putin stalls, making unmeetable demands, he’s destroying Ukraine’s ports and grain silos.

In just one month, Russia has destroyed over 270,000 tonnes of grain – enough to feed a million people for a year.

And I can tell the House today, that thanks to declassified intelligence we know the Russian military targeted a civilian cargo ship in the Black Sea with multiple missiles on the 24th August, demonstrating just how desperate Putin is.

At the G20, leaders united in calling out the “human suffering” caused by Putin’s war. Ukraine has the right to export its goods through international waters and they have the moral right to ship grain that is helping feed the world.

The UK is working with partners to get grain to those who need it most. We’ll provide £3 million for the World Food Programme, building on earlier contributions to President Zelenskyy’s “Grain from Ukraine” initiative.

We’re using our intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities to monitor Russian activity in the Black Sea so we can call them out if we see they’re preparing further attacks on civilian shipping or infrastructure and attribute attacks if they happen.

And later this year we’re hosting a UK Global Food Security Summit to put in place solutions for the longer term.

Mr Speaker, I spoke to my friend President Zelenskyy before the summit. Backed by our support, Ukraine’s counter-offensive is making hard-won progress. We will continue to stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes until we see a “just and durable peace” that respects their sovereignty and territorial integrity.

That’s the only possible outcome to Putin’s illegal war. And Ukraine, with our support, will prevail.

And on my second aim Mr Speaker, we showed at the G20 that it is the UK and our partners not authoritarian actors that offer the best solution to the global challenges we face.

We’re playing our part to stabilise the global economy, control inflation and fuel future growth. The latest ONS figures show the UK is leading the way – growing faster out of the pandemic than any other major European economy demolishing the false narratives we’ve heard on the other side of the House.

And we’re leading the way on development assistance. Instead of loading countries with debt, we’re calling for fundamental reforms of the World Bank.

When I met the World Bank president, I underlined the UK’s desire to see the Bank become more efficient and responsible, sweating its balance sheet to deliver more support where it’s needed. We’re also leading calls at the G20 to safely harness new technologies to support growth and development.

And we’re leading action to tackle climate change.

Mr Speaker, while some in Westminster denigrate the UK’s record on climate issues, out there in the world we’re rightly seen as a global leader. We’ve cut emissions faster than any other G7 country – with low carbon sources now providing over half our electricity. We’re providing billions for the global energy transition – including through our pioneering Just Energy Transition Partnerships.

And at the G20 I made a record commitment of over £1.6 billion for the Green Climate Fund – the biggest single international climate pledge the UK has ever made.

Finally, my most important aim in Delhi was to deliver on the priorities of the British people. In a changing world, we’re using our Brexit freedoms to build new relationships with economies around the world.

Since I became Prime Minister, we’ve joined the CPTPP – the most dynamic trading bloc in the world. We’ve launched new partnerships with Canada, Australia, Japan and the US covering trade and economic security. And we’ve secured agreements with France, Albania, Turkey and others to stop illegal migration.

At the G20, we went further. We signed a new Strategic Partnership with Singapore – to boost growth, jobs and security and I held warm and productive discussions with Prime Minister Modi on strengthening our relationship in defence, technology and a free trade deal between our nations.

Mr Speaker I also met Premier Li of China. The whole House is rightly appalled about reports of espionage in this building. The sanctity of this place must be protected.

And the right of members to speak their minds without fear or sanction must be maintained.  We will defend our democracy – and our security. So, I was emphatic with Premier Li that actions which seek to undermine British democracy are completely unacceptable and will never be tolerated. I also emphasised the UK’s unyielding commitment to human rights.

And I was clear on the importance of maintaining stability and international law as the basis for stable relations. China is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, the world’s second largest economy and the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide, and has growing influence on others, notably Russia.

One of my messages to Premier Li was that China should use their influence to call on Russia to end its aggression against Ukraine. The G20 showed a common purpose on food security, and we need to see this in other areas.

Mr Speaker, this Government has acted decisively to improve our security blocking China’s involvement in critical areas like civil nuclear power, semiconductors, and 5G. And I pay tribute to the work of the security services.

We will shortly set out our response to the Intelligence and Security Committee’s report on China.  In November last year, the government set up a new Defending Democracy Taskforce.

Its mission is to reduce the risk to the UK’s democratic processes, institutions and society and ensure they’re secure and resilient to threats of foreign interference. The importance of that work is clear for all to see.

And crucially, in taking this approach, we’re aligned with each and every single one of our Five Eyes allies and other G7 partners. Because by speaking frankly and directly we will ensure our messages are heard clearly and that our interests and values are protected and promoted.

In conclusion Mr Speaker, at a time of rapid change, we are bringing British values and British leadership to bear on the biggest global challenges. As one of the fastest growing major economies, the second largest contributor to NATO, and a global leader in everything from climate to tech to development, I’m proud of the United Kingdom’s leadership.

And it’s through that leadership, working with our allies and partners that we’ll increase our security, grow our economy, and deliver on the priorities of the British people.

And I commend this statement to the House.

Prime Minister's Office, 10 Downing Street
The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP