The prospective foreign policy of Sir Keir Starmer

Think tank: The Henry Jackson Society

Author(s): Prof Azeem Ibrahim

May 18, 2022

This report from UK think tank the Henry Jackson Society looks at the foreign policy strategy of Sir Keir in opposition, and how he might react to future crises.

Sir Keir Starmer’s approach to foreign policy is “more assertive and more serious than that of any Labour leader since the general election of 2010 but still has serious gaps”, according to Professor Azeem Ibrahim, an award-winning international relations academic who advised the Biden Campaign on foreign policy and whose papers warning of the impact of Jeremy Corbyn’s foreign policy made front-page-news in 2019.  In ‘The Prospective Foreign Policy of Keir Starmer’, Prof Ibrahim analyses the foreign policy strategy of Sir Keir Starmer in opposition, and looks ahead to how a Starmer government might react to future crises.   Prof Ibrahim characterises the policy under Sir Keir Starmer as having a focus on process and formality but having restored the Labour Party to many of its foreign policy positions prior to the election of Ed Miliband in 2010.   The paper challenges Sir Keir Starmer to establish a fuller vision for his foreign policy leadership, claiming that the doctrine is “rougher and less well-formed than the Labour leader might suggest”.  The report also contrasts Sir Keir Starmer’s positive foreign policy positions since taking the leadership of the Labour Party to those he adopted prior to that point which, according to Prof Ibrahim, “have not painted his capacity to make difficult, non-ideological decisions in a favourable light”.