GSF December 2023 event: ‘Making UK Foreign Policy In A ‘More Contested And Volatile World’: Priorities, Challenges & Choices For The New Foreign Secretary?’

On 12th December, for our final event of 2023 and our Christmas drinks, GSF was delighted to host a panel of highly distinguished foreign policy experts drawn from our Advisory Board: the Rt Hon Lord Campbell of Pittenweem, Leader of the Liberal Democrats (2006–2007); the Rt Hon Sir Malcolm Rifkind, Foreign Secretary (1995-1997) and Secretary of State for Defence (1992-1995); and the Rt Hon Jack Straw, Secretary of State for Justice (2007-2010), Foreign Secretary (2001-2006) and Home Secretary (1997-2001).


They spoke in a debate entitled ‘Making UK Foreign Policy In A ‘More Contested And Volatile World’: Priorities, Challenges & Choices For The New Foreign Secretary?’, chaired by Lord Lothian.   To watch the debate again, please click here.






House of Lords official portrait

THE RT HON THE LORD CAMPBELL OF PITTENWEEM CH CBE PC KC FRSE was educated at the University of Glasgow where he graduated MA and LLB and was President of the Union, and Stanford University, California, where he undertook post-graduate studies in international law. He competed in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and was captain of the UK Athletics Team in 1965 and 1966. He held the British 100m record from 1967 to 1974. He was called to the Scottish Bar as an advocate in 1968 and appointed Queens Counsel in 1982. He was elected MP for North East Fife in 1987. In Parliament, his particular interests were foreign affairs and defence and he was his Party’s principal spokesman on both. He has been a member of the Foreign Affairs, Defence, Members Interests, Trade and Industry, and Intelligence Committees. He was elected Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats in 2003 and was the Leader of the Party 2006 to 2007. He led the UK delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly between 2010 and 2015 and was later elected a Vice President of the Assembly. He was awarded the CBE in 1987, became a Privy Councillor in 1999, knighted in 2004 and appointed a Companion of Honour in 2013. He holds honorary degrees from three Scottish Universities, including St Andrews where he became Chancellor in 2006. He stood down from the House of Commons in 2015 and the same year was appointed to the House of Lords.


THE RT HON SIR MALCOLM RIFKIND KC was elected as MP for Pentlands in 1974, which he represented until 1997. He became a member of the Cabinet in 1986 as Secretary of State for Scotland. In 1990 he became Secretary of State for Transport and in 1992, Secretary of State for Defence. From 1995-97 he was Foreign Secretary. In 1997 he was knighted in recognition of his public service. Sir Malcolm was re-elected as a MP in May 2005 for Kensington & Chelsea and he was elected as MP for Kensington in May 2010 until his retirement at the 2015 general election. He was Chairman of the Intelligence & Security Committee of Parliament (2010-2015), and he was appointed in 2015 by the OSCE as member of their Eminent Persons Panel examining Russia-West relations and the crisis in Ukraine. He was appointed by the Government as the British Co-Chairman of the Belvedere British-Polish Forum in 2017. He is currently a Visiting Professor at the Department of War Studies at King’s College, London and a Distinguished Fellow of RUSI.


THE RT HON JACK STRAW was the Member of Parliament for Blackburn from 1979 to 2015. From 2007 to 2010, he was the Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain and the Secretary of State for Justice. He has served as Home Secretary (1997-2001), Foreign Secretary (2001-2006) and Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Commons (2006-2007). Following the election in May 2010, he became the Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, but announced his intention to step down from the front bench after the Labour Party Conference of that year. His autobiography, Last Man Standing: Memoirs Of A Political Survivor, was published in September 2012. He retired as MP for Blackburn at the May 2015 general election. He continues to play a leading role in national politics, on home and foreign policy. He is co-Chairman of the British Turkish Forum; takes a close interest in Iran, and Chairman (from April 2022) of the British Iranian Chamber of Commerce; was a member of the Independent Commission on the Freedom of Information Act;  Chairman of the Blackburn Youth Zone, and a Trustee of Star Academies Trust. His most recent book, The English Job: Understanding Iran And Why It Distrusts Britain, was published in July 2019.

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