The UK considered buying the Svalbard region north of the Arctic Circle to provide light cleaning for spies and increase fishing waters after Brexit.
At the time, Foreign Minister Tobias Ellwood pursued an attempt to buy land from the Norwegian Archipelago, a group of islands in the northeast of Greenland, the last pre-Arctic settlement.
The plan was unveiled by El Woods, a former colleague of the then Foreign Ministry Sir Alan Duncan, when Boris Johnson was foreign minister.
His diary of his tenure was In The Thick Of It: Former Tory’s explosive diary was serialized in a national newspaper on Saturday.
In an entry dated February 1, 2017, Sir Alan wrote: [Tobias] Ellwood made a suing proposal hoping the British would take over Svalbard, an archipelago between Norway and the Arctic, to become the British spaceport. He’s geeks. “
The next day, Sir Alan wrote that Ellwood had previously tried to convince Philip Hammond to buy the island as foreign minister.
He said: Ellwood is still taking his Svalbard kick. Apparently he had tried it before with Hammond, he just cried at him and never spoke again. Norwegians think we are totally crazy.
Ellwood said on Saturday that Britain was trying to convince the government to buy a portion of the Svalbard Islands’ main island for $250 million ($220 million).
Mr. Elwood, now chairman of the Defense Selection Committee, described the land provided through a brokerage as serious real estate.
He told The Telegraph: From a geographical and strategic point of view, what we base on is a bit like Ascension Island, Falklands or indeed Gibraltar.
From a strategic and military point of view I found it very useful.
Mr. Ellwood said communication with satellites has become clearer in Svalbard. Because being located in the north means that the surface speed of Earth’s rotation is slower.
Had this deal been done, it would have been given fishing rights and rights to oil and gas reserves. Most of the archipelago is home to polar bears, most of which are covered with glaciers. In other countries.
It would have been pretty unbelievable as a listening station, Ellwood said. My concern was that China refused to buy strategic land.
Ellwood raised it with Hammond, not when he was as foreign minister between 2014 and 2016, but said he had no interest at all.
Prime Minister David Cameron was very fond of it, but officials said we can’t afford it right now.
Johnson was also keen when he served as foreign minister between 2016 and 2018 because he liked to encourage thinking about as much blue skies as possible.
Elwood, who served as foreign minister from 2014 to 2017, criticized the risk aversion among government officials who were not going to sell.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not respond to The Telegraph’s question. Sources said the department would not comment on the former junior secretary’s thoughts.
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