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Foreign Policy Foreign Policy

Develop alliances and co-operate more

Last updated: 10:02am 9 August 2019

We will develop alliances and co-operate more with old friends and new partners.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.38

Our verdict

In its 2017 manifesto, the Conservative Party pledged to develop new alliances as well as continue to co-operate with old friends. In the context of foreign policy, this means strategic alliances with other nations relating to security and trade.

Measuring this policy (to “develop alliances and co-operate more”) is not without challenges, especially around proving the UK government is co-operating “more” than during the previous term of office.

In August 2018, Theresa May became the first British prime minister to visit the sub-Saharan African region in five years. During a three-day trip, which included visits to Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, the former Prime Minister vowed to strengthen economic and trade ties with African countries and pledged to invest £4bn in support for their economies.

For his first visit as Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, has recently headed on a trade mission to South East Asia in order to expand UK’s economic ties beyond Europe. He took part in the ASEAN meeting of foreign ministers in Bangkok, where he discussed plans to deepen relationships with ten other countries: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. He promised to work closely with the ministers of these countries on issues such as climate change, artificial intelligence, security and sustainable development. A similar tour also took place in North America in August 2019.

Based on the activity so far, we are categorising this policy as ‘in progress’. These global opportunities are more likely to be seized once the government has finalised its exit from the European Union, and we’ll still need evidence to show promise to “co-operate more” has been met. Follow this policy for updates.

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