Six foreign policy issues the UK's new PM will face

Boris Johnson (left) and Jeremy Hunt during the BBC Conservative Leadership televised debate on June 18, 2019

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt are fighting to take over from Theresa May as the leader of the Conservative Party and the UK's next prime minister.

Central to the contest is an interpretation of what may or may not happen on 31 October, when Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union.

But whoever enters Downing Street will not only shape a fresh approach to Brexit, they will also have to make fundamental decisions about Britain's domestic and foreign policies that could have just as much significance in the years ahead as the immediate negotiations with the EU.

Both candidates have served as foreign secretary.

Image copyright Getty Images

They should have a solid understanding of the international challenges facing the UK. But that doesn't mean either will necessarily have the right foreign policy to deal with them.

1. The United States

Read full article Six foreign policy issues the UK's new PM will face

Commonwealth Secretariat in 'urgent need' of reform

  • 13 June 2019
  • From the section UK
Commonwealth boss Lady Scotland Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Commonwealth Secretariat, run by Lady Scotland, is the organisation's main intergovernmental agency, facilitating cooperation among member governments

The Commonwealth Secretariat, the body that manages the international organisation in London, is in "urgent need" of reform, according to a leaked internal report obtained by the BBC.

It says there are "deep concerns" about the governance structures of the secretariat which "lacks clarity" in its priorities and needs to be "more transparent and accountable". It adds there is a "serious and urgent need" to stabilise the body's funding.

Read full article Commonwealth Secretariat in 'urgent need' of reform

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: What will diplomatic protection mean for her?

  • 7 March 2019
  • From the section UK
Iranian-British aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe with her husband Richard Ratcliffe and her daughter Gabriella Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Iranian-British aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe denies the charge of plotting against the Iranian government

The decision by the British government to give Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe formal diplomatic protection marks a significant escalation in the UK's campaign to secure the release of the British-Iranian dual national who is detained in Tehran.

It is an extremely rare diplomatic and legal move that signals the UK is no longer treating the case as a consular matter but a formal, legal dispute between Britain and Iran.

Read full article Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: What will diplomatic protection mean for her?

How will the UK's post-Brexit global role look?

  • 25 February 2019
  • From the section UK
British and EU flags flutter outside the Houses of Parliament Image copyright Reuters

How do UK politicians and policymakers see Britain's foreign policy after it leaves the EU?

For three years, Brexit has drained the intellectual life force out of Whitehall and Westminster, leaving little time and space for thinking about the future.

Read full article How will the UK's post-Brexit global role look?

Commonwealth deputy wins compensation for dismissal

  • 20 December 2018
  • From the section UK
Commonwealth boss Lady Scotland Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Lady Scotland became Commonwealth secretary-general in 2016

The Commonwealth secretary-general, Lady Scotland, has been accused at an employment tribunal of mounting a campaign to sideline and undermine one of her deputies.

Dr Josephine Ojiambo, a Kenyan diplomat, made the accusation after Lady Scotland decided not to renew her term of office as deputy secretary-general. The tribunal found the Commonwealth Secretariat breached its contract with Dr Ojiambo and ordered it to pay compensation and costs. A spokesman for the secretariat said it was studying the ruling.

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What is Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt doing in Iran?

Britain's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt shakes hands with Iran"s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Tehran Image copyright Getty Images

Jeremy Hunt's visit to Tehran comes amid tensions between the two countries over UK dual nationals detained in Iran, and the war in Yemen.

There is an old joke in diplomatic circles that Iran is the only country in the world that still thinks the United Kingdom is a great power.

Read full article What is Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt doing in Iran?

Transparency - the tool to counter Russia

  • 4 October 2018
  • From the section UK
GRU symbol reflected in an eye Image copyright Reuters

When Theresa May addressed MPs on 5 September - revealing the identities of two Russian agents suspected of the Salisbury poisoning - she said the UK and its allies would step up their collective efforts against the country's military intelligence agency, known as the GRU.

In particular, she promised to deploy what she called "the full range of tools from across our national security apparatus in order to counter the threat posed by the GRU."

Read full article Transparency - the tool to counter Russia

Islamic State 'Beatles' duo: Why is their handling significant?

  • 6 August 2018
  • From the section UK
Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Alexanda Kotey (left) and El Shafee Elsheikh were captured by Syrian Kurdish forces

Of all the violence meted out by the Islamic State group in Syria, the deeds laid at the door of a cell dubbed "The Beatles" by their hostages were of a particular brutality.

The torture and execution of Westerners was striking not just because it was carried out by men with British accents, but also because of the apparent relish with which the blood was shed in public and without remorse.

Read full article Islamic State 'Beatles' duo: Why is their handling significant?

Islamic State 'Beatles' duo: Why won't Britain block death penalty?

  • 23 July 2018
  • From the section UK
Sajid Javid Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Home Secretary Sajid Javid said Britain would not oppose the use of the death penalty if two alleged IS members were extradited to the US

Britain opposes the death penalty.

In its annual update on human rights and democracy around the world published last week, the Foreign Office said: "It is the long-standing policy of the UK to oppose the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle."

Read full article Islamic State 'Beatles' duo: Why won't Britain block death penalty?

What can we take from President Trump's UK visit?

  • 14 July 2018
  • From the section UK
The Queen welcomes Donald and Melania Trump to Windsor Castle Image copyright Reuters

This is how it works in Trump world. The US president arrives at a party, causes a fuss, breaks some crockery, and leaves everyone stunned.

Then as the dust settles, he declares what a good time he has had, how it's all been a great success, while offering a few words of apology for the disruption caused. So it was at the Nato summit, and so it was during his visit to Britain.

Read full article What can we take from President Trump's UK visit?