Philip Dunne praises the work of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy in promoting the importance of democracy in some of the emerging democracies, particularly former Soviet states.
My apologies for arriving after the commencement of the debate; I was still in a Select Committee. I put on record my appreciation for my hon. Friend for securing this debate and for the work that he does in chairing the Westminster Foundation for Democracy. It is not always the most glamorous task, but having been a director myself some 10 years or so ago, I know what incredibly important work it does. It helps to project on a cross-party basis from both Houses of Parliament the importance and the strength of encouraging democracy in some of the emerging democracies—particularly from former Soviet states.
I was in Kyiv with the WFD on my only visit to that, at present, benighted country. I tried to encourage the parties to recognise the importance of democracy and the role they can play in standing up to aggression. It is vital that WFD continues to do that work, not least during these dark days.
I am very grateful for what my right hon. Friend has said. His own experience, both in Ukraine and more widely on the board of WFD, is extremely relevant. I pay warm tribute to Members of Parliament, the Government themselves and our non-political governors for their commitment and voluntary work over the few years that I have been chairing this organisation. It is to them that we owe what I hope is generally seen as a successful organisation, punching, as Douglas Hurd used to say, above our weight.