Press release

PM outlines new review to define Britain’s place in the world

The Integrated Review of foreign policy, defence, security and international development will re-examine the UK’s priorities and objectives.

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  • A wide range of foreign policy and national security experts, inside and outside Government, will be involved to ensure the UK is equipped to meet the global challenges of the future
  • The report will seek new and innovative ways to promote our interests overseas while continuing to commit 2% of GDP to defence and 0.7% of GNI to international development

The United Kingdom will overhaul its approach to foreign policy through a new government-wide review set out by the Prime Minister today.

The Prime Minister has committed to hold the largest review of the UK’s foreign, defence, security and development policy since the end of the Cold War. The Integrated Review will cover all aspects of the UK’s place in the world, from the role of our diplomatic service and approach to development to the capabilities of our Armed Forces and security agencies.

The review will be policy-led and will go beyond the parameters of a traditional review by considering the totality of global opportunities and challenges the UK faces and determining how the whole of government can be structured, equipped and mobilised to meet them.

It will look at areas such as the procurement process used by the Armed Forces and other security services, ways to tackle Serious and Organised Crime more cohesively by building on the work of the Mackey Review and how we can better use technology and data to adjust to the changing nature of threats we face – from countering hostile state activity to strengthening our Armed Forces. All this will be undertaken with the aim of creating a more coherent and strategic approach to our overseas activity.

The Government will utilise expertise from both inside and outside government for the review, ensuring the UK’s best foreign policy minds are feeding into its conclusions and offering constructive challenge to traditional Whitehall assumptions and thinking.

The UK’s departure from the EU presents new opportunities to define and strengthen Britain’s place in the world at a time when the global landscape is changing dramatically. Worldwide demand for imports is growing as the UK establishes an independent trade policy for the first time in decades. Rapid technological changes are redefining the way we interact with other nations and tackle issues like climate change. And countries all over the world are challenging traditional international structures and alliances.

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said:

I am determined to lead a Government that delivers for our people - both at home and abroad. The UK’s institutions, expertise, leadership and values are renowned around the world.

But we cannot rest on our laurels. We must do more to adapt. We will be judged by how we respond to the opportunities ahead.

As the world changes we must move with it – harnessing new technologies and ways of thinking to ensure British foreign policy is rooted firmly in our national interests, now and in the decades ahead.

The remit of the review, set out for the first time today, is to:

  • define the Government’s ambition for the UK’s role in the world and the long-term strategic aims for our national security and foreign policy
  • set out the way in which the UK will be a problem-solving and burden-sharing nation, examining how we work more effectively with our allies
  • determine the capabilities we need for the next decade and beyond to pursue our objectives and address the risks and threats we face
  • identify the necessary reforms to Government systems and structures to achieve these goals

The Integrated Review will report to the Prime Minister, who will be supported by a cross-Whitehall team in the Cabinet Office and a small team in Downing Street comprised of experts from inside and outside the civil service. Departments across Whitehall will input, including the Foreign Office, Ministry of Defence, Department for International Development, the Home Office, the Treasury, and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Decisions on the review will ultimately be made by the National Security Council, chaired by the Prime Minister.

The Integrated Review will run in parallel to the Comprehensive Spending Review, ensuring departments are equipped with the resources they need to enact the review’s conclusions.

The main bulk of the review is expected to conclude in line with Comprehensive Spending Review later this year, although implementation of its recommendations will be a multi-year project.

Published 26 February 2020