BFPG’s May Review

Following months of speculation and a day of frenzied rumours, the General Election is officially on the horizon, much sooner than many expected. Last Wednesday, Rishi Sunak called a snap election for the 4th of July, sending Westminster and beyond into overdrive.

Apart from a reconfiguration of countless plans and schedules, how will this announcement affect the UK foreign policy community? While we can expect to see a primary focus on domestic policy over the next few weeks, national security and the conflict in the Middle East are already dominating the airwaves, and could play a key role in the election outcome. More on that here.

But there are also a number of challenges – from relations with Europe and the US, to the FCDO merger and foreign policy trade-offs – that won’t get much air time in the election but will quickly confront a new government. To give you a flavour of some of those challenges, our analysis explores the key questions a potential new government should be asking itself as it prepares for office.

This has been a particularly busy month for BFPG, which has seen us release 10 pieces of research, deliver 2 events and launch 1 new economic and security commission. The British Foreign Policy Group this month has also announced the appointment of five new Associate Fellows. We are delighted to have them onboard:

Mohamed Cassimjee, Geopolitical Analyst and Consultant, and former Deputy Ambassador of South Africa to Germany

Dr Mafalda Dâmaso, Visiting Fellow at the European University Institute and Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College London

James Jennion, Co-Executive Director at Labour Campaign for Human Rights

Michael Martins, Founding Partner at Overton Advisory and former Economic and Political Specialist at the U.S. Department of State

Aryan SanghrajkaFounder and Managing Director of Forced to Flee and UNHCR Global Young Champion for Refugees

Recent Analysis

Ready to Spend for King and Country? Making the Foreign Policy Case for Defence
Following Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s commitment to raising UK defence spending to 2.5% of GDP by 2030, BFPG Senior Advisor David Landsman explores how to make a sustainable case for increased defence spending



The Balance of Power in Cyberspace – What it Means for UK Business
BFPG Senior Research Fellow, Victoria Baines, provides a primer on some of the key threats cyber warfare may pose to UK plc and national security.



The (Long) Road to COP29
As we pass the halfway point on the long road to COP29, BFPG Researcher Eliza Keogh explores what COP29 might bring, as well as the ongoing sources of contention surrounding the upcoming conference.



How to Prepare for a Potential Second Trump Presidency

With the prospect of a second Trump Presidency looming, Associate Fellow Michael Martins sets out what to expect from a potnetial second Trump term.



The Case for Greater UK Consistency on Human Rights

Associate Fellow James Jennion explores the importance of promoting a rules-based order in the UK, in order to promote human rights internationally



Engaging Young People in UK Foreign Policy

Associate Fellow, Aryan Sanghrajka, explores the importance of youth voices in tackling current and emerging global challenges.



UK-Global South Relations: A Time for Engagement

As building a diversity of alliances becomes more critical amid an increasingly uncertain global order, Associate Fellow Mohamed Cassimjee explores the importance of informed UK engagement with the Global South.



Common Challenges, Joint Solutions: Disinformation, Media Policy and the Future of UK-EU Relations

With the UK’s strategic rivals scaling up their efforts to influence the views of both Western and non-Western audiences, Associate Fellow Mafalda Dâmaso explores the importance of UK-EU cooperation around a free and fair media.



Elsewhere at BFPG…

This month we were also delighted to launch our new Economic and Trade Security Commission. The Commission will take evidence from key stakeholders and look to explore how the UK can ensure more effective implementation of economic security as a key part of the UK’s foreign policy toolkit. The Commission will be led by Dr Rebecca Harding, alongside Dr David Landsman and Evie Aspinall. Full details here

Diplomatic Hour continued this month and we were delighted to welcome His Excellency, Dr Róbert Ondrejcsák, Ambassador of Slovakia to the UK, for a public event focused on the future of UK-Slovakian relations and Slovakia’s role in the world, with a particular focus on defence. And while Westminster is consumed by the general election announcement, we also hosted a panel event on next week’s European parliament elections and what they might mean for UK-EU relations.

Elsewhere, BFPG Director Evie Aspinall spoke to BBC Radio 4’s Media Show, to discuss the geopolitics of press freedom and the value of the BBC as a soft power asset. You can listen to the full version of the Media Show here, and a shortened TV version is now available on BBC iPlayer here.

British Foreign Policy Group