‘Global Britain was the right policy in 2016. And Global Britain is the right policy today.’ May’s Carlton Lecture – full text
This is the Carlton Lecture on the subject of global Britain delivered by Theresa May yesterday evening.
“Mr Chairman, My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen –
A little over 40 years ago, Harold Macmillan – the first President of this Club – gave the first Carlton Lecture to mark the Club’s 150th anniversary. It was hoped that the event would become firmly established in the political calendar. Well it has since enjoyed a rich history, and I am only too aware of my eminent predecessors at this lectern.
But it has now been over a decade since this lecture was last given – by Lord Howard, in 2011. And I should like to think, with today’s supply of former Conservative Leaders, we can surely increase that frequency.
When considering the topic for this lecture, I thought back to Macmillan’s time in office. In the wake of Suez. The last days of empire. Our alliances under strain. The rise of communism. The cold war raging. The nuclear arms race. Macmillan was a Prime Minister at a time of great upheaval in our world.
He famously observed in 1960 that “the wind of change is blowing” – and I think, in a peculiar way, that is as true now as it was then.
So just over 40 years since he established this lecture, I thought it fitting to speak about a topic that should matter deeply to all Conservatives: Britain’s place in the world.
“On becoming Prime Minister in 2016, I set Global Britain as the UK’s foreign policy. It was in my first party conference speech that I said:
“Brexit should not just prompt us to think about our new relationship with the European Union. It should make us think about our role in the wider world. It should make us think of Global Britain”.
I knew going into the referendum that it stood to be an inflection point in our island story – constitutionally, economically and politically. Remain or leave, there would be no immediate reversion to business as usual. I firmly believed that those who voted for Brexit were voting for change, with the hope that it would bring a brighter future.
I also felt deeply that the result was decisive. We live in a majoritarian democratic country. And the outcome of the vote must be respected. Too many times before in Europe, we had seen democratic votes ignored by governments that thought the people had got it all wrong. That if they just kept trying, eventually the people would produce the right answer. I was clear that this should never happen in Britain.
Despite the clamour, there could be no second referendum. But with the world becoming a more complex and unpredictable place, Brexit could not be a moment for introspection. It was not a vote to turn in on ourselves or become isolated on the world stage.
Because we have a proud history as an internationalist nation. Yes, a European country – but with a global reach. And at that moment of profound change, I wanted the UK to emerge outward-looking, self-confident and ambitious about our role in the world.
“Perhaps inevitably, our plan for Global Britain was interpreted through the prism of trade. A bruising referendum campaign had brought growth and prosperity into sharp focus. The country wanted to know how and when we would leave the EU – and what our future relationship would look like.
I make no apology for wanting to maintain the freest possible trade with our European neighbours. But I also reached the decision that we couldn’t truly honour the pledges of the campaign through continued membership of the EU’s single market and customs union.
Instead what I aimed to achieve was a new relationship that gave us the benefits of the single market and customs union without the obligations. We couldn’t truly leave the EU unable to make our own trade arrangements outside of Europe. It wasn’t just a case of delivering on campaign promises. It was fundamental to achieving that vision of increasing our global engagement.
I want the UK to be a standard bearer for free and open trade. To sign new trade agreements with growing markets that are taking a larger share of global growth. And I’m pleased to see the progress we have made since we began work on our independent trade policy back in 2016.
EU trade agreements with over 70 countries replicated in UK law. Two new FTAs signed with Commonwealth allies. Negotiations ongoing with India – set to be the world’s fastest-growing economy this year. And we are on our way to joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, spanning from Malaysia to Canada, and accounting for 13 per cent of global GDP. Because a 21st-century trade policy means free trade with complementary markets, regardless of geography.
After all, we Conservatives know how trade drives prosperity. It’s because of the bravery of Conservatives like Sir Robert Peel that free trade helped spread wealth and opportunity in our country. Admittedly it was another challenging episode for our party, but for all the political turmoil, the repeal of the corn laws marked a turning of the tide for Britain.
It helped to empower consumers at home, alleviate poverty and raise living standards. But it also enabled the projection of our influence abroad. Because then – as now – trade is an instrument of our soft power. That’s why, for me, Global Britain is about so much more than economics.
Our comparative advantages lie not just in the goods and services we produce, but in the ideas, abilities and values we export to the world. Our convening power and our leading positions in multilateral fora. Our diplomacy and intelligence capabilities. Our legal system, our scientific research and our universities. Our commitment to democracy and the rule of law. Our respect for human dignity, human rights and equality. Our belief in free societies and free people.
“But we can only project our influence in the world through the relationships we maintain. In my Lancaster House speech in 2017, I described Global Britain as:
“the best friend and neighbour to our European partners, but a country that reaches beyond the borders of Europe too. A country that goes out into the world to build relationships with old friends and new allies alike”.
So it was there from the beginning. Global Britain in its purest form was about both trade and diplomacy. Strengthening the bonds of friendship and building lasting alliances. Not just with our traditional partners, but others with whom we share strategic interests and common goals.
It’s only with strong relationships that we can expect our outlook to resonate with the world. We can shout as loud as we like about how to address global issues, or how we are world-leading in so many areas. But there is a difference between being heard and being listened to.
Without strong friends and allies willing us on, we will find ourselves part of fewer global conversations. Taking less of a role in international alliances. Having a quieter voice when decisions are taken. And leaving greater bandwidth for the influence of our rivals and adversaries – for there is no power vacuum in world affairs.
If we expect others to share our world view, to work with us, to engender change – then our relationships must be nurtured. I don’t just mean nurtured on a bilateral basis. A trade deal and a state visit here and there won’t cut it.
The strength of our individual relationships are a function of what we say to our global audience. But more than what we say. What we do, and what we stand for. The role we take as a responsible actor, working not just for our narrow interests but for the common good.
So allow me today to update our original vision of Global Britain. Because deeper trade and stronger relationships are only the foundation stones of this mission. More than that – we must be a force for good in the world and a passionate defender of our values.
This is not some high-minded ideal. It has a deeply practical significance. It’s fundamental to whether we are trusted. Whether we are credible. And therefore whether we are effective.
A force for good
“First, being a force for good. Using our unique position to be a constructive voice in the world.
As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, a leading member of NATO, the Commonwealth, the G7 and G20. At the OECD, the OSCE, the World Bank, the IMF, and having retaken our independent seat at the World Trade Organization.
Our core mission is to maintain and strengthen the rules-based international order that we helped to build after the Second World War. It’s how we engage with the world and how we protect our interests.
We rely on a system of rules to maintain stability between states. To promote peace and prosperity, and to create conditions for democracy to flourish. Because without a rules-based system, power is the only currency. And in a world where “might is right”, smaller nations and those with the most open economies are at greatest risk.
The rules we have created provide a framework that builds predictability in the world, trust between nations and helps to prevent conflict. It’s there not just to further our interests, or for our prosperity – but for our security.
It’s no wonder that in recent years, regimes which reject democratic values have shown a growing willingness to undermine them. But multilateralism is often the only way to address shared challenges. As Prime Minister I saw that at first hand.
I was able to achieve more to tackle modern slavery through the United Nations, than by simply passing legislation through the House of Commons.
In 2018 I chaired the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, welcoming leaders from over 50 countries. Without that meeting, we would not have adopted the Commonwealth Blue Charter – a landmark agreement which will see a third of the world’s national coastal waters protected, helping to sustain livelihoods globally.
If we want to have a leading role in the world, we must lead in finding solutions to the world’s greatest challenges.
There is no greater challenge than climate change. I worked to secure the UK’s presidency of the UN Climate Change Conference, submitting the UK’s bid in 2019. And at COP26 we delivered the Glasgow pact, which includes landmark commitments on emissions and deforestation. It’s not the complete solution to our problems, but far more progress than would have otherwise been possible.
I legislated to make the UK the first developed economy to commit in law to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050. It was a bold move back in 2019, but since then we have seen other countries follow where we led – including Japan, France and Canada.
As energy prices have risen around the world. There are those who think our way out of the energy crisis is to increase our production of fossil fuels. I don’t agree.
In my view, the way to strengthen energy security is to push on with transforming our economy. To move to cleaner renewable energy and make our economy more resilient to a volatile market in fossil fuels. Because the UK has already shown that you don’t have to choose between low emissions and economic growth; you can have both.
We are deepening investment into nuclear power. But we can demonstrate greater leadership. We can speed up the roll out of renewable technologies and upgrade our power grid. And we can use the power of government to de-risk more investment into early-stage technologies and emerging sectors such as hydrogen.
As Chris Skidmore’s Net Zero Review reported: the transition to a net zero economy is “the growth opportunity of the 21st century”. Great Britain led the world through the industrial revolution. If we grasp the opportunity now, Global Britain can lead the world to a greener form of growth.
“Our leadership in tackling global challenges is not just demonstrated by action at home, but by harnessing the power of UK diplomacy around the world. And in my mind there is no clearer demonstration of Global Britain as a force for good than UK Aid.
That union flag we see on food parcels, medical supplies and school buildings. It’s more than a logo. To the recipients of aid, it is a symbol of hope. It is quite literally a life-saver, and helps build a safer and more stable world.
Our international development assistance has long been considered a moral duty. I say it is moral leadership. It has allowed us to lead the world in tackling violence against women and girls. In the development of new vaccines for the epidemics of the future. And in our rapid response to crises such as famine and natural disasters.
I know that foreign aid has sometimes been a contentious political issue. I have heard all the allegations: that we spend too much; that our money isn’t spent well; that we should be prioritising our own country more.
Let me tell you, as Prime Minister I saw with my own eyes how we make a tangible impact to the lives of millions of people. Many of whom just wanted food to eat, clean water to drink, or basic medication to save their dying children.
But I also saw the impact it made to our standing in the world. The authority and credibility it gave me in dealing with our partners, and the relationships we furthered as a result. It’s a fundamental tenet of our soft power.
It’s also squarely in our national interest to support fragile states, to tackle corruption, to prevent instability and conflict. To deter violent extremism, radicalisation, terrorism and the mass displacement of people. To promote economic activity and to help countries trade their way out of poverty.
The UK’s pledge to spend 0.7 per cent of GNI on international aid was a promise made by our party in 2013 under David Cameron. A promise renewed through several generations of Conservative governments. A promise that every Conservative MP stood on in every election since it was made.
But two years ago, we decided to break that promise. And sadly, the latest data shows that the most severe cuts have fallen disproportionately on the least developed countries. It was the first and only time in my 25 years in Parliament that I have broken a three-line whip by voting against the Government.
I was clear at the time: the decision meant more children going hungry or becoming slaves, fewer girls educated, more of the world’s poorest dying. It meant Global Britain reneging on its commitments, undermining our credibility in the world. And it was a poor indictment of our moral leadership and the values we represent.
“We might be forgiven for taking our values for granted. And particularly those we hold most dear – of democracy and the rule of law. Constants in the fabric of our country for as long as we can remember.
But the primacy of those values over competing visions of our world is the product of centuries of sacrifice. We have a duty to safeguard those hard-won freedoms for generations to come.
These values are enshrined in the North Atlantic Treaty – the founding document of NATO. It commits members of the alliance to “safeguard the freedom, common heritage and civilisation of their peoples, founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law”.
We’ve seen NATO at its best over the last 12 months. The irony of Putin’s aggression is that NATO has emerged stronger and more united than before. But it’s a pity that it took war on mainland Europe to bring the West together.
Because in recent years, the West has appeared less willing to defend the values NATO represents. The Western Alliance has become more detached as the wars of the past have become more distant. To younger generations, even the Cold War is a matter for the history books.
In the decades of relative stability we subsequently enjoyed, we became too comfortable about the superiority of Western values. We thought that our way of life was universally accepted. In reality, the balance of power in our world is shifting, and the West is being contested like never before.
I felt that acutely as Prime Minister when chemical weapons were used on the streets of Salisbury. That even after the fallout of the Litvinenko poisoning, Russia felt confident that it could again act with impunity within our borders. Approaching the fifth anniversary of Salisbury, I think back to the operation we launched to coordinate an international response.
The countless phone calls and meetings with my opposite numbers. The sharing of intelligence with our allies to assure them of the facts. The arguments we made about why we had to act. Ultimately we stood united.
Our action resulted in the largest collective expulsion of Russian intelligence officers in history. But that result didn’t come easily. It took persuasion and careful diplomacy to achieve alignment within NATO and beyond.
I felt strongly that for too long the international community had been passive in the face of Russian aggression. That we had not lived up to the aspirations of our predecessors in defending the values we hold dear. We had given the impression that the West was only interested in paying lip service to protecting its interests.
That was certainly the case when Russia invaded Georgia in 2008 and then Crimea in 2014. It’s impossible to know whether more action back then might have averted the war in Ukraine now. But a greater demonstration of our willingness to act would have made the Russian calculation more difficult.
Syria in 2013 is another example. Having made our red line clear – that we would not tolerate the use of chemical weapons – we collectively failed to live up to our high rhetoric. Our promise of consequences against the Assad regime proved to be an empty threat.
And I’m afraid the House of Commons has to shoulder its share of the blame. When it came to a vote, the government was narrowly defeated. I believe it was a grave error of judgement.
In 2018, Assad had again been using chemical weapons against his own people. We tried every diplomatic channel. But our attempts were thwarted, primarily by Russia. When the Syrian regime carried out a brutal attack in Douma, the UK, US and France decided to act.
I authorised military strikes which successfully downgraded the regime’s chemical weapons capabilities. They were limited, targeted strikes based on reliable intelligence. I was clear that my decision was morally and legally right. But sadly it came five years later than when we first had the opportunity to act.
A more recent example of our collective failure is the withdrawal from Afghanistan. The die was cast when President Trump signed a deal with the Taliban. The Taliban correctly predicted that the West would not row back on its intentions once exit plans were underway – regardless of whether they fulfilled their side of the deal.
I was disappointed not just by the manner of the withdrawal, but also at the very fact of the withdrawal. It seemed to me like a needless and avoidable own-goal. The West had a relatively light and sustainable presence in Afghanistan. It was effectively keeping the Taliban at bay and supporting a government in Kabul. Combat operations had finished in 2014. But US air power was vital to sustain a government.
The lives of Afghans had been transformed beyond recognition and we had brought hope to a new generation. The terrorist threat had been largely contained and we had set store by the work we were doing to ensure the country’s security. But when it came to it, we failed to demonstrate the strength of our resolve.
We went into Afghanistan to prevent it from being a vacuum in which terrorism could thrive and threaten our security at home. The Taliban’s actions since resuming control of the country speak louder than their words.
We have seen a reversion to extreme Islamist rule which has plunged the country into a humanitarian crisis. And one of the first decisions of the new regime was to release thousands of jailed jihadi fighters.
I have no doubt that our withdrawal has increased the potential terrorist threat we face at home. We must sadly recognise that Afghanistan is likely once again to become a breeding ground for those who want to destroy our way of life.
I’m afraid I concur with the findings of the Foreign Affairs Committee report of last year. It concluded that the withdrawal was “a disaster in terms of planning, execution, and consequences” – and “a betrayal of our allies that will damage the UK’s interests for years to come”.
As I said to the House of Commons at the time:
“we boast about Global Britain, but where is Global Britain on the streets of Kabul? A successful foreign policy strategy will be judged by our deeds, not by our words”.
We haven’t yet seen the true geopolitical impact of that decision. But the withdrawal represented failure for the West. We signalled that we would not stay the course and were prepared to renege on our commitments.
It shows why we must do better when it comes to Ukraine. For it’s increasingly clear that Putin’s strategy is rooted in a calculation of Western resolve splintering over the months and years ahead.
The UK has taken a leading role in the world’s response to the invasion of Ukraine. It’s an instance of Global Britain living up to its aims. We were one of the first countries to come to Ukraine’s side in their moment of need. We have been a leading supplier of aid and a strong voice in driving international sanctions. We were the first country to pledge that we would supply tanks, and we galvanised our partners in the alliance to support this aim.
And the British people are firmly behind the UK’s position. Polling from Policy Exchange last week identified that 71 per cent of people thought the UK has responded well.
But in Ukraine – as it should have been in Georgia and Crimea, Syria and Afghanistan – the West must continue to stand united. We must be in this for the long haul. For our unity is not simply in defence of a sovereign state, but in defence of democracy itself.
“While we work together to defend democracy in the midst of conflict, we must remember that perhaps the greatest threat to democracy is closer to home.
We know from opinion research that support for our democratic institutions is wavering, especially amongst the young. There is a growing dissonance between what voters want from their politics and what is on offer from their parties. Many communities feel left behind by social and economic change.
And populist politicians have seized the opportunity to capitalise on a crisis of confidence. Exploiting often understandable concerns, they promote a politics of division; identifying enemies to blame for our problems and offering only easy answers. Frequently populism aligns with nationalism. And online, disinformation on social media amplifies extremes of view.
Increasingly we see conspiracy theories take hold. Polling from Unherd last month revealed 38 per cent of the British population agrees that “the world is controlled by a secret elite”. Another 30 per cent are not sure one way or another. That such numbers are said to entertain absurd concepts demonstrates how easily lies spread online. But we should also be aware of the dangerous levels of disengagement we are seeing with the political mainstream.
Our domestic politics is increasingly characterised by rancour in public debate and vile abuse towards those in public life. We need only be reminded of the murders of Jo Cox and Sir David Amess, or the scenes at the US Capitol in 2020 to see how fragile support for democracy can be.
Sadly, our politics increasingly presents the world through an absolutist prism of winners and losers. The winners are seen as strong men. They believe that if you stand firm in your position for long enough you will always get your way. They prefer to agitate their own faction rather than find common ground. They believe that walking out and slamming the door is strength, where compromise is weakness.
This is corroding our public debate. It drives tribal bitterness, subverts freedom of speech and damages the health of our democracy.
There is a role for Global Britain in not just strengthening our democracy at home but redoubling our advocacy for democratic values abroad. To demonstrate that the most sustainable solutions arise from the politics of moderation.
In our party, we have a tradition of mainstream, centre-right Conservatism. We call it “one nation”. It encapsulates the idea that we should seek to bring people together, not create a society of warring cultural tribes.
That is very much in keeping with the vision of Global Britain: a force for forging stronger alliances and driving common purpose in the world.
The rule of law
“I have spoken about the role of Global Britain in promoting democracy. But as a core value, it goes hand in hand with the rule of law. The principle that all people and institutions of the state should be bound by the law.
It can be traced through the history of our civilisation, from Magna Carta to the establishment of parliament and the development of our legal system.
A legal system that has underpinned the stability of our society through the ages. That has given confidence that transactions would be fulfilled and contracts enforced. That has given certainty to investors and has fuelled our prosperity.
The rule of law is the platform on which our freedoms are based. It allows us to live in a just and fair society. And it is the hallmark of a mature democracy. It is also a deeply conservative principle.
When Lady Thatcher gave this lecture in 1984, she explained how “the case for democracy rests ultimately on morality”. That democracy is:
“about the right of every individual to freedom and justice”. She said: “they are rights which have been evolved and upheld across the centuries by our rule of law. A rule of law which safeguards individuals and minorities; a rule of law which is the cement of a free society”.
Crucially, it demands adherence to the law not just by the people, but by the government. Because, as John Locke wrote over three centuries ago: “wherever law ends, tyranny begins”.
If the Government takes the view that laws can be broken, the rule of law collapses. It breaches the trust of its citizens. And if the government chooses to break international law, then it can expect the same breach of trust with international partners.
It is not merely a matter of jurisprudence. It is not some esoteric concern for legal scholars. I spoke at the start of this lecture about our soft power. Our comparative advantage in the world. Our standing as a reliable and dependable partner. It’s fundamental to the success of Global Britain.
We cannot deliver on that vision – projecting our values abroad – if we are content to breach the norms of democratic government at home. If we do that, how can we expect to hold a moral high ground with authoritarian regimes for their infringement of international treaties and conventions? And how can Britain reassure future partners of our adherence to the obligations we shoulder in trade deals, or any other kind of treaty?
I am referring of course to the introduction of the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill. My position on this is a matter of public record.
It is a bill that was introduced with the sole purpose of unwinding an international treaty we had freely signed just a year earlier. Not just one we had signed, but one that the government presented to the British people – as not just a done deal, but a negotiating triumph.
The situation in Northern Ireland was not entirely unforeseen. The scenario I sought to avoid was a border down the Irish Sea. A ‘front stop’ – if you will. It was an option available to us, but one that as Prime Minister I was unwilling to accept. Indeed, as I said to the House of Commons in 2018, it was a deal I thought no Prime Minister could accept.
My fear was that it would cause material damage to our already delicate Union and risk destabilising the political settlement in Northern Ireland. That it would further damage our relationships with allies, and prolong what was already a complex and uncertain process.
Despite attempts by some to rewrite history, my successors were in no way bound by the negotiations we carried out. The deal the government concluded with the EU was entered into freely and wilfully.
Nobody ever said it would be easy. I know – perhaps better than anyone – how Brexit has presented us with a multitude of political challenges. But we want our country to be seen as credible in the world – and we want our policy solutions to be effective and sustainable.
Those aims are not met by ripping up the rulebook, undermining the rule of law, and in so doing compromising our values. Values which are fundamental not just to Conservatism, but to our way of life.
I therefore very much welcome the new deal which the Prime Minister has negotiated with the EU – and the fact that he has withdrawn the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill. He understood the importance of building relationships with allies and this negotiated agreement shows the benefit of doing just that.
It will enable us to have strong ongoing relationships with our European neighbours, particularly in areas like security, trade, and cooperation in science and innovation.
It recognises the importance of our relationship with Ireland – built on ties of family, geography and a complex shared history. This club knows of that complex history only too well. It is a vital relationship for peace and political stability across our isles.
I think also of the United States. Our closest and most important ally, and a vital partner if Global Britain is to succeed. We have a special relationship between our governments. But also a kinship between our people, whom for generations have fought alongside each other for the cause of freedom. Who have together burdened the responsibility of leadership. With this impasse behind us, we will be able to lead in the world with our heads held high.
“To help address the most pressing global issues. And to engage with the world’s most complex regions – like Asia-Pacific, the economic powerhouse of the future.
You will note that so far I haven’t spoken about China. Allow me to address the topic directly. China is an authoritarian state that does not share our values. It is a strategic competitor to the West and is a systemic challenge to our world order. It contests territorial boundaries and threatens the security of the region. It has demonstrated a blatant disregard for human rights. It permits malign commercial practices such as intellectual property theft, and regularly flouts trading rules on subsidies and industrial dumping.
And China is increasingly flexing its muscles on the global stage. Through the Belt and Road initiative, it is strengthening its strategic interests in every corner of the globe. And it is increasingly relying on economic leverage to achieve its aims.
But despite these immense challenges, it is in our national interest to maintain a robust relationship built on pragmatism. Whether we like it or not, in our globalised world the UK has an economic relationship with China.
China accounts for over 18 per cent of global GDP and is fundamental to global supply chains. It is integral to the structure of the world economy. Complete disengagement would be an act of harm to our trade and prosperity. It would not ensure our security or benefit our global influence. And it would do little to help advance human rights or tackle issues like climate change.
It is a relationship that has to be delicately managed if we are to genuinely pursue our national interest, rather than simply indulge in political posturing.
The Integrated Review, published in 2021, outlines the UK’s strategic focus for security, defence, development and foreign policy. Titled Global Britain in a Competitive Age, it sets out our international strategy in world regions – particularly the Indo-Pacific.
It’s a part of the world that is vital to global stability. But in my view, our position should be less of a “tilt” – taking emphasis away from our traditional spheres of influence – or we risk repeating the mistakes of the past.
We should expect our adversaries to act when they think our sights are elsewhere. We saw that in Ukraine. As the West increasingly looked to China and averted its eyes from Russia, Putin saw his opportunity. As somebody who has met Vladimir Putin on several occasions, I can attest that he is a cold and calculating individual.
And we continue to face threats from Russia at home. Yes, in the use of chemical weapons and old-fashioned espionage. But also through incursions of our airspace and at sea. Attacks in cyberspace. In attempts to influence our politics, our media and to spread disinformation in public discourse.
The Integrated Review was right to identify Russia as “the most acute direct threat to the UK”. But we also face threats on several other fronts, including from radical Islamist ideology, from rogue fundamentalist states like Iran and from far right terrorism.
There is one commonality. They are all motivated by a hatred of our way of life, and will go to extreme lengths to undermine our democratic freedoms.
Global Britain: the right policy
“But I believe we are stronger. That against the forces of tyranny and hatred, freedom wins out. That free people and free societies have a limitless potential to succeed in our world.
And that is the vision of Global Britain. A beacon of democracy, home to the mother of Parliaments. A trading nation that is engaged with all corners of the globe. A trusted, dependable ally, with friends and partners around the world.
Unfailing in our defence of the rules-based order. Compassionate and generous. Working not just in pursuit of our narrow interests but of the common good.
A country that leads in the world. Not just through our unique strengths, but in our capacity to work with our partners.
But a country that knows: to lead in the world we must be trusted and credible. Because we are not owed a prominent position. Britain can’t rely on the work of our forebears to retain its place at the top table. We must live up to our ideals.
And with leadership rooted firmly in our values, we have a bright future ahead of us, with endless possibilities to succeed.
Because “the wind of change is blowing”. But it represents an opportunity to forge a new and leading role in the world.
Global Britain was the right policy in 2016. And Global Britain is the right policy today.