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Politics & press news – Embassy 25 – May 2010

Foreign policy differences

Diplomats will be pleased with the increased Lib Dem influence on foreign policy, with Deputy Prime Minister scoring the highest out of the three party leaders in a pre-election foreign policy poll conducted by Embassy magazine.

Overall, Nick Clegg scored marginally higher (34 per cent) than Gordon Brown (32 per cent), with Cameron’s policies trailing far behind (17 per cent).

On Europe, the Conservative policy of repatriating powers from the EU garnered the least support (9 per cent), while Nick Clegg came out tops with 50 percent of respondents – from all regions – saying his arguments were most persuasive, in spite of his flip-flopping over the euro.

The image was inverted on defence policy, with Conservative views attracting 41 per cent of the diplomatic vote, while Clegg’s policy to scrap Trident and replace it with vague alternatives to be decided after a ‘defence review’ only gained the support of nine per cent of diplomats.

On the subject of the economic recovery and international financial stability, Brown impressed diplomats with an overwhelming number – 59 per cent – seeing him as a safe pair of hands.

However, Brown’s record on migration was roundly criticised, with only 5 per cent thinking his ideas were realistic. Interestingly, the Lib Dem policy of an amnesty was warmly received by diplomats, with 55 per cent saying it was sensible, despite the criticism it received from the other two parties and the press.

There was no clear winner on climate change policy, with support split between Brown (36 per cent) and Clegg (32 per cent), but with 18 per cent saying none of the ideas put forward were concrete.

All of which points to very interesting foreign policy debates in for the coalition government.

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