The House of Lords Committee on Soft Power and the UK’s Influence will next week hold three evidence sessions with high-profile witnesses as they conclude their inquiry. These will include on Monday 16 December a session with the Rt Hon Sir John Major, followed by a session with former US Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Tara D. Sonenshine.
The Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence Ministers, the Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP and Dr Andrew Murrison MP, will also give evidence on Wednesday 18 December.
Wednesday 18 December
Committee Room 2, Palace of Westminster
- The Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP, Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office
- Dr Andrew Murrison MP, Minister for International Strategy, Ministry of Defence
The Committee are expected to ask the Ministers about how the Foreign Office and MoD are reacting to a changing world in which Asia and Africa are becoming more important; how the Ministry of Defence works with civilians in countries like Afghanistan to secure the UK’s objectives overseas; and how separate Government Departments coordinate their work to best represent the UK’s interests abroad.
Monday 16 December
Committee Room 1, Palace of Westminster
- The Rt Hon Sir John Major KG CH, former Prime Minister
- Tara D. Sonenshine, former Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs for the US Department of State (2012-13), and Director of Foreign Policy Planning for the National Security Council during the Clinton Administration (via videoconference)
The Committee will likely question Sir John Major about the impact that the first Gulf War – during his Premiership – had on the Middle East; on the lessons of the peace process in Northern Ireland; and about the impact that the UK’s membership of and relationship with the EU has on its influence overseas. Sir John has recently issued warnings about the UK paying a ‘severe price’ if it were to leave the EU.