The week in foreign policy

In a week filled with debate over the Cabinet reshuffle, we take a look at what you might have missed this week in foreign policy.

The ‘Jamaica 50’

One of this week’s biggest stories was the Home Office’s deportation of the Jamaica 50, many of whom arrived in the UK as children and have no links to Jamaica. Miranda Grell explores for the Independent the effect this scandal will have on black Britons’ trust in the government. The lessons learned from the Windrush scandal have not been learned by government, Grell says. ‘It appears that – as many black Britons feared – the government clearly does not consider people of Caribbean heritage part of the ‘Global Britain’ equation’, she writes.


This week also saw the launch of the government’s COP26 preparations. Reuters examine the diplomatic tests coming the UK’s way this year. The November conference will take place just days before the US Presidential elections that could return President Donald Trump to office, thus securing the US’s exit from the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. The UK must shore up its diplomatic strengths in preparation for this eventuality, working behind the scenes to persuade emitters like China and India that action on climate change is necessary, whether or not the US does.

Digital Threats

Ahead of this year’s Security and Defence review, the Telegraph explores the growing threat of Russian cyber attacks and fake news, which is overtaking major conflict as a threat to the UK. RUSI’s Professor Malcolm Chalmers argues that new policy instruments are necessary to combat the growth of digital threats in light of the return to state-based competition. 

‘Davos for Defence’

In other defence news, the so-called ‘Davos for defence’ took place this week, which Britain was notably absent from, in terms of senior minister presence. The impact this mis-step will have on the government’s Global Britain agenda is explored in the Financial Times. The UK’s position as one of Europe’s biggest defence powers has usually meant a sizable delegation is sent to the conference. Given this year’s conference taking place just weeks after the UK left the EU, the government risks leaving Global Britain to be merely an empty slogan. 

AKK Quits

In big news for future UK-Europe relations, Angel Merkel’s heir apparent, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, quit as leader of the Christian Democrats on Monday. POLITICO looks at who Germany’s next leader is likely to be. Health Minister Jens Spahn, and Friedrich Merz, a prominent former MP and foe of Merkel, are the two most likely choices. Both have criticised Merkel’s ‘left-leaning’ policies on migration – something that will have ramifications for the whole of Europe.

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Flora Holmes

Flora Holmes is a Researcher at the British Foreign Policy Group.