This Week in the Middle East podcast

Bye Bye Boris and then what?

Recuar 15 segundos
Avançar 15 segundos

There's not much to inspire in the contenders for the crown:

Rishi Sunak
Sunak was behind the UK Government’s abandonment of its commitment to spending 0.7% of its GDP on developmental aid. Cutting this budget will have a detrimental effect on countries that receive British foreign aid, such as Yemen and Afghanistan. As already mentioned, these countries are likely to struggle even more this year, and it is unlikely as a candidate he will commit to repealing these reforms as lowering foreign aid is a popular policy within the Conservative Party.

Penny Mordaunt
Mordaunt has voted for military action in both Iraq and Syria, as well as for the continued deployment of British troops in Afghanistan. She has a military background as a Royal Navy Reservist and has a month-long stint as Defence Secretary. Mordaunt has vowed to increase defence spending, and it is likely she would favour a Hawkish foreign policy.
Mourdant was appointed Secretary for International Development on 9th November 2017, leaving in April 2018. She has made concerning statements since leaving the position, such as suggesting in June 2020 that some foreign aid should instead be spent on a replacement for the Royal Yacht Britannia.

Liz Truss
Liz Truss received the support of 64 MPs in the second round. Liz Truss is perhaps even more Hawkish than Mourdant, and has been backed by some of the prominent figures on the right of the Conservative Party, such as Jacob Rees Mogg and Nadine Dorries. Since becoming Foreign Secretary in September 2021, she has tried to style herself after Thatcher and has been aggressive in opposing Russia when it comes to the situation in Ukraine.
However, this has led to her pushing Middle Eastern issues to the periphery. Questioned by a committee of MPs, she highlighted the important status of the Gulf States as allies but declined to say whether she had questioned their governments on their arguably weak human rights records.

Kemi Badenoch
In fourth place in the second round with 49 MPs backing her was Kemi Badenoch. Badenoch is a rising star in the party, positioning herself as an ‘anti-woke’ candidate. When it comes to foreign affairs, she has said she ‘doesn’t care’ about colonialism. These attitudes could lead to worse relations with Middle Eastern countries, as many of them suffered from colonialism. Badenoch doesn’t believe ‘institutional racism’ exists in the UK, which might affect the way refugees are treated in the UK, many of whom coming from countries like Syria and Afghanistan.

Tom Tugendhat
Tom Tugendhat came fifth in the second round with 32 MPs backing him. He has experience in the Middle East, having served as a soldier in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Tugendhat did a Master’s degree in Islamic studies and is fluent in Arabic, which would both be useful in working with Middle Eastern countries. Tugendhat came to national attention for his strong criticism of the Western withdrawal from Afghanistan, calling it the “biggest foreign policy disaster since Suez.” He is also a strong supporter of Israel, condemning the United Nations for its official criticism of Israeli settlements. He has suggested that other disputed territories should also receive attention, such as Western Sahara, Kashmir and Tibet.

Tugendhat has accused Iran of funding terrorists, which could make work on a Nuclear Deal difficult. He has also praised Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman in 2018 for having a positive impact on his country and the world. Tugendhat also vocally opposed the cut in the foreign aid budget. Tugendhat is seen by some to be on the left of the Conservative Party, yet some of his statements on Israel and Saudi A

Support the show

Reflections and observations from William Morris, Secretary General of the Next Century Foundation

Mais episódios de "This Week in the Middle East"