You are here: UNA-UK calls on new UK Government to prioritise foreign policy

8 May 2015

The Conservative Party has won a second term in Government, this time alone, after securing a majority in yesterday's election. Prime Minister David Cameron announced via Twitter that Philip Hammond will remain Foreign Secretary.

UNA-UK looks forward to working with the Government and with all political parties to achieve an active and progressive foreign policy in line with our manifesto. We will also continue to build cross-party support for an effective UN.

Throughout the election campaign, UNA-UK expressed disappointment at the lack of debate on global issues. Last June, we launched a year-long initiative to promote informed discussion of Britain's global role in the lead-up to 7 May.

For the most part, the debate was highly politicised and narrowly focussed on issues such as Britain's membership of the EU. Only towards the end of the campaign did broader themes get an outing, albeit in reaction to events such as the deaths of hundreds of migrants and refugees in the Mediterranean. But even this issue was largely shorn of context, framed as a challenge of stemming their arrival on European shores rather than tackling the reasons why so many of them risk their lives in this manner.

The UK's global role

Our global system has delivered real gains for people in the UK. We all benefit from laws that protect our rights and environment; the opportunities created for business, education and travel; and institutions that deal with conflict, disasters and humanitarian crises. But this closer interaction has also made us more dependent. From job creation to NHS staff, the things we care about at home increasingly have a global dimension. Climate change, pandemics, extremism – what happens in other countries matters to our own lives.

UNA-UK hopes that investing in global solutions will be a priority for the new Government. We also hope that it will develop a clear strategy for Britain's role on the world stage, and how best to use its privileged position at the UN. In a YouGov poll we commissioned last year, the UK's Security Council seat outstripped economic and military power as the key to British influence.

Before the election, UNA-UK wrote to political parties asking for their views on the UK's relationship with the UN. The Conservative response affirms the UN "plays a vital role in global affairs". It commits the UK to "leading the debate" at the UN on increasing global security and prosperity, including through delivery of "compelling" Sustainable Development Goals. It also supports UN reform, including "making the process of appointing the next Secretary-General more transparent".

Support our petition

Both issues are part of UNA-UK's manifesto, which outlines 10 ways in which the UK can act as a global force for good, from action on climate change, human rights and gender equality, to leadership on UN peacekeeping and arms control.

If you care about these issues, please add your voice to our petition, which will be presented to the new Government on 27 May - the state opening of Parliament. You can find out more about our manifesto by visiting our Action Platform, below:

 

Let's make foreign policy a priority

It's in our interest that the UK plays a leading role at the UN. Yet foreign policy has been sidelined in the 2015 election. We need to show that global issues matter