However, the move is being firmly opposed by some of Ms Mordaunt’s colleagues who worry it would contradict the Government’s stated desire to build a “global Britain” after Brexit. If the UK were to leave Unesco, it would follow the example set by President Trump who withdrew the US from the body last year after accusing it of “pro-Israeli bias”. Israel also withdrew from the body, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claiming it had become “a theatre of the absurd”.
Unesco was founded in 1945 to promote culture and education across the globe.
However, it has long been accused of political bias, with both the UK and US pulling out of it in the mid-1980s before later rejoining.
Ms Mordaunt’s department currently rates Unesco as the worst performing international agency out of those it deals with.
No final decision has been taken, but withdrawing from Unesco is understood to be opposed by Prime Minister Theresa May and Environment Secretary Michael Gove.
The move had been proposed by former International Development Secretary Priti Patel in 2016, but it was vetoed by Mrs May.
The suggestion that Britain could quit Unesco drew a furious response from Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry.
She told The Times: “If Penny Mordaunt was truly worried about the organisation’s financial difficulties she would stay inside it and help reform.
“To just walk away instead is an act of political petty-mindedness and seamless cultural vandalism.”
Unesco is perhaps best known through its ‘World Heritage’ site scheme, which sees areas of particular historical or cultural value, such as the Taj Mahal or Stonehenge, given special protection.
Recently though the body triggered outrage by adopting a resolution which did not reference the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount complex in Jerusalem’s old city, the holiest site in the world for the Jewish faith.
A Department for International Development spokesman said: “There has been no change to our funding commitment to Unesco.
“The UK is working closely with Unesco and other member states to ensure it makes crucial reforms to deliver the best results and value for taxpayers’ money”.
Unesco has a longstanding relationship with the UK, which hosted the 1945 conference at which the body was founded.