Director's Briefing: Britain's foreign policy refresh

In conversation with Professor John Bew, Number 10’s defence and foreign policy adviser.

Partner and major corporate event, Panel Invitation only
19 July 2023 — 8:00AM TO 9:15AM
Chatham House

After the 2019 general election, the UK Government decided to undertake ‘the most radical assessment of the UK’s place in the world since the end of the Cold War’. After pandemic related delays, two years later in March 2021 it published the Integrated Review – ‘Global Britain in a Competitive Age’ which sought to set out a cohesive basis for foreign policy for a post-Brexit Britain.

This was followed in March of this year – one year on since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine – by the Integrated Review Refresh ‘Responding to a More Contested and Volatile World’. The Refresh sought to update the strategy to address a more fraught geopolitical environment. John Bew, No 10’s foreign policy and defence adviser, played a pivotal role in both documents.

Despite the outbreak of war in Europe, the Refresh explains that the Indo-Pacific tilt remains a key priority for UK policymakers. It also stated, ‘China poses an epoch-defining challenge to the type of international order we want to see, both in terms of security and values,’ however stopped short of directly labelling China, a ‘threat’.  

 This discussion will examine: 

  • What does the future hold for UK-European security cooperation? 
  • What is the thinking behind, and what is the future for, the UK’s tilt to the Indo-Pacific? 
  • Can the UK maintain a pragmatic policy on increasingly assertive China in the face of a politically unpredictable US?  
  • What are the most pressing threats to the UK?  

As with all members events, questions from the audience drive the conversation.