'Global Britain' slogan must be backed by substance, says Committee

12 March 2018

The phrase 'Global Britain' has become common parlance for the Prime Minister and ministers at home and abroad, to describe the UK's changing foreign policy.

'Global Britain' has not been precisely defined

Since June 2016, ministers have been clear that the decision to leave the European Union doesn’t mean the UK bowing out of world affairs. The Government wants the UK to remain an active player on the global stage as an outward-looking nation.

However, in a Report published today, the Foreign Affairs Committee says 'Global Britain' has not been precisely defined by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Ministers were unable to give a detailed response to what it meant either in written or oral evidence to the Committee.

Chair's comments

The Chair of the Committee, Tom Tugendhat MP, commented:

"The Committee agrees that the time is right to take stock of the UK’s place in the world. As we prepare to leave the EU, it is vital that we set out our stall. But to demonstrate global leadership, we need a clear statement of objectives and priorities and a commitment to the sufficient resources to achieve them.

"To eliminate confusion, the Committee is calling on Government to set out what the policy means. We urge the Prime Minister to make a keynote speech in the House. We want to see a single repository for documents, speeches and policy work – in the ten most common languages - to help policy-makers and public understand Government thinking.
"The UK is a global player, but a slogan is not a policy and the country needs a clear strategy to shape our actions or we risk damaging our reputation overseas and eroding support for a global outlook at home. Ministers need to show that the idea of 'Global Britain' means more than a continuation of the FCO's current activities and is instead a targeted, resourced plan. In the meantime, the Committee will continue to pursue aspects of Global Britain through a series of inquiries."

Next stage of the 'Global Britain' inquiry

Today, the Committee publishes the terms of reference for the next stage of the inquiry.

The Committee welcome written submissions on ‘Global Britain’, focusing on:

  • What would be required to make ‘Global Britain’ a credible strategy, and the extent to which those elements are already in place;
  • Metrics against which the success of ‘Global Britain’ can be assessed;
  • Whether and how ‘Global Britain’ differs from previous approaches to UK foreign policy;
  • How elements of foreign policy such as rule of law, cultural influence and military interests should be balanced against the trade aspects of ‘Global Britain’;
  • Which regions, countries and multilateral organisations the UK should prioritise, and the policy and resource trade-offs that may be involved;
  • The capacity of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and other relevant government departments to deliver upon Global Britain.

Send a written submission to the inquiry on Global Britain.

The closing date for submission of written evidence is Monday 16 April 2018.

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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