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Event Summaries
May 15, 2018

Event Summary: British Foreign Policy After Brexit

Henry Jackson Society

TIME: 18:00 – 19:00 – Thursday 19th April 2018

VENUE: The Henry Jackson Society,
Millbank Tower, 21-24 Millbank, London, SW1P 4QP

The Rt Hon. the Lord Owen CH FRCP
Co-founder of the Social Democratic Party
Author of British Foreign Policy After Brexit

David Ludlow
Former Diplomat
Author of British Foreign Policy After Brexit

On the 19th of April, the Henry Jackson Society was proud to host Lord David Owen and David Ludlow to introduce their book, British Foreign Policy After Brexit and give their talk on the subject, the event was chaired by Dr Alan Mendoza.

Lord Owen became a member of parliament in 1966, and has since served in many shadow cabinet and cabinet positions, including as British Foreign Secretary under Labour, as well as later in his career leading the Social Democratic Party. He has now sat in the lords since his elevation in 1992.

David Ludlow has had a varied career as a diplomat, an investment banking director, and has worked as the international business development director, for UK finance.

The remarks began by outlining the three crises currently facing Britain in the current and post-Brexit context; North Korea, Syria and the Russia-Ukraine conflict. He spoke about the prospective solutions available to policy makers for these crises, and underlined that all of these crises require urgent attention, but could inflame drastically in a brief period of time.

The speaker then spoke about the use of both force and diplomacy as a solution, and stressed that the linkage between them and that they can be used together. He concluded the point by emphasising the importance of always talking to people, regardless of if you like or agree with them in international affairs.

The remarks were concluded his remarks on two points, firstly on the importance of investing more money into the defence budget, and meeting what was viewed as the necessary expenditure of 2.5% to meet the stark challenges that the UK faces. Finally, he spoke about how simplistic solutions, such as cutting foreign aid, were not adequate solutions to providing the extra money for the defence budget and that the complexities needed to be grappled with; which he added that the book deals with in depth.

The floor was then opened up to questions by the chair, after which an audience member asked Mr Ludlow if Teresa May had missed a trick in the Brexit context, given that she was yet to visit the Republic of Ireland. Mr Ludlow replied that he thought she had, and that the relationship needed reinforcing in the context of Brexit and relative uncertainty over the Irish, Northern Irish border. Other questions related to the need for a Brexit transition period and how, in the context of the Cambridge Analytica, a culture of misinformation online can be fought. One of the final questions asked how Russia should be responded to in the current heated context. To which Lord Owen replied that it was essential that the history of Russia be taken into account in any confrontation, and that we should apply sanctions to the state as a consequence, but should be careful to not entirely cripple Russia’s economy.