UK General Election: The big decisions for the next foreign secretary

Chatham House experts discuss the most pressing international risks facing the UK.

Open event, Panel Recording
30 May 2024 — 5:00PM TO 6:15PM

Event recording

Experts discuss the geopolitical challenges that will confront the UK’s new government.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced his intention to launch the 2024 UK Parliamentary election by stating, ‘This election will take place at a time when the world is more dangerous than it has been since the end of the Cold War.’ 

Keir Starmer, Leader of the Opposition, retorted in his first speech of the campaign that the country had been left ‘exposed’ in the world.  

There is a broad consensus that geopolitical threats facing the UK are more pressing than at any time in living memory. Both of the main parties have been clear about the dangers posed by Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine, the IsraelGaza war, and China’s increased alignment with anti-Western powers. 

They have also been less sanguine about the prospect of a second Trump presidency or how they intend to improve cooperation with the European Union.

This conversation covers:

  • What risks (and opportunities) do worsening Sino-American relations present to an incoming UK foreign secretary?
  • How can UK foreign policy help to foster a more peaceful Middle East? What are practical limitations to British policy impact in the region?
  • What role can the UK aid and development budget play in repairing relations with the Global South?
  • How can the UK harness its diplomacy to ensure increased and resilient support for its ally Ukraine?