Foreign Affairs Committee publishes Integrated Review Update Report

The House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee has published its report on the update to the Integrated Review

Following its inquiry last year into what changes the Government should include in the Integrated Review (IR) refresh, which techUK submitted evidence to, the Foreign Affairs Committee has now published its report on the inquiry.

The report, which rexamines the IR in light of significant changes to the UK's foreign and security policy over the past year, covers several areas, including:

  1. The need for an update to the IR
  2. The UK's foreign and security policy approach to China
  3. The future of UK-Europe relations
  4. Balancing the Indo-Pacific and Euro-Atlantic
  5. Filling the leadership vacuum in unstable regions

In each of these areas, the report puts forward recommendations for the Goverrnment to consider as part of the update to the IR, which are:

  1. Need for IR update:
  • A full-scale refresh of the IR is only warranted, given the scale of resources and time required to complete it, particularly at this exceptionally challenging time for Britain’s foreign and security policy, if the Government makes considerable changes or is prepared to fill in some of the gaps in more detail to justify this use of resources. Enhancing the resilience of the UK should be central to the refresh
  • The the forthcoming National Resilience Strategy should include the creation of a national resilience lead. Effective implementation of this strategy would include regular cross-Government meetings that discuss shared efforts to improve UK’s resilience to threats across all policy areas
  1. Foreign and secuirty policy approach to China:
  • The Government needs to be firmer and more explicit in articulating the UK’s security interests when it comes to China. The primary responsibility of the state is to keep its people safe. China poses a significant threat to the UK on many different levels. The FAC would support the Government changing the language from “systemic competitor” to “threat” if it were accompanied by carefully calibrated and proportionate policy change, particularly on domestic resilience and security, rather than empty rhetoric
  • The UK's long-term goal must be to foster greater resilience and economic diversification, so that in the future it has more freedom to choose its actions in response to any aggression or human rights abuses. Key to this is cooperation with key allies to improve the UK's resilience, but also to ensure responses to hostile actions are made multilaterally where possible
  1. UK-Europe Relations:
  • The IR notably lacked detail on the future of the UK’s relationship with its European partners and the EU. The renewed illegal invasion of Ukraine has altered the dynamics of European politics and provided a clearer lens through which to view UK-Europe security relations. It is important that the updated IR clarifies the nature of the UK’s security relationship with key European partners and the EU
  1. Indo-Pacific and Euro Atlantic Balance:
  • ​​​​​​​The IR update presents an opportunity to reset and clarify the UK’s relationships beyond the Indo-Pacific and specifically in the Euro-Atlantic. The Government should explain if, and how, it expects the UK to contribute to European security while maintaining the Indo-Pacific tilt, particularly at a time of considerably constrained resources. The IR update should also explain in more detail what policy objective the Government hopes to deliver with the Indo-Pacific tilt, or work away from the term “tilt”, and set out what the benefits to the UK will be
  1. Leadership vacuum in unstable regions:
  • ​​​​​​​The language of the IR and UK actions since its publication suggests that the Government is tilting away from the Middle East. The Committee acknowledges the tradeoffs involved in prioritising other regions but the Government should be careful to avoid any perception of disengagement from partners and fragile countries so close in proximity to our own. Instability in these regions will threaten UK citizens at home. The Committee urges the Government to confirm whether it intends to deprioritise the Middle East and if so, how it will continue to promote peace and stability in these regions with fewer resources
  • The IR update should detail how the Government will actively fight to make sure the multilateral system remains  reflective of the UK's core values and the rules-based international order. That means advancing a forward-leaning multilateral foreign policy and putting forward UK candidates in coordination with likeminded nations for key roles

You can read the full Foreign Affairs Committee report here. 

Fred Sugden

Fred Sugden

Associate Director, Defence and National Security, techUK


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