Jeremy Hunt – 2019 Article on Japan

Below is the text of the article written by Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, on 10 January 2019.

I sometimes find that foreign leaders are more aware of Britain’s national strengths than we are at home.

So let me itemise a few of them.

The UK has the fifth biggest economy in the world, the third biggest overseas aid budget, the second largest military budget in NATO, and a world-class diplomatic network, including permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council.

Our friendships and alliances span the globe. Britain’s role is to use these connections to be what I call an ‘invisible chain’, linking the democracies of the world to uphold the post-1945 order.

Today, the leader of a fellow democracy with the same objective will arrive in London.

Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan, represents a nation closely connected to Britain.

Some countries are endowed with immense natural resources; others are located in the midst of great continents. Britain and Japan have neither of these advantages. We are both islands off the Eurasian landmass with modest natural resources and no option except to prosper through enterprise, innovation, and a global outlook.

Although separated by distance, Britain and Japan have built a remarkable economic partnership. As I write, about 1,000 Japanese companies are operating here, directly employing over 150,000 people and many thousands more in their supply chains.

In the last 4 decades, the ingenuity and expertise of Japanese management has helped transform vital sectors of the UK economy, from automotives to pharmaceuticals. All over Britain, people have benefited from the long-term, community-focused approach to business that is the hallmark of Japanese investment.

British business, meanwhile, is increasingly successful in the Japanese market. In 2017 alone, UK exports to Japan rose by over 12% to reach £13.5 billion.

I first visited the country in 1990 with the aim of learning Japanese. I was introduced to Japan and wonderfully looked after by Japanese families across the country. For almost 2 years, I lived in Kyoto, Nagasaki, and Tokyo.

I learned Japanese with the aid of part-time jobs as a waiter in a French restaurant in Nagasaki and a coffee shop in Tokyo. I soon discovered the difference between the exceptionally polite form of Japanese we would use with customers and the informal conversation in the family home.

This experience left me with a great admiration for Japanese politeness, perfectionism, and determination.

At that time, Britain’s relationship with Japan was focused on economic ties. More recently, our friendship has gone a step further. At a time when the world order that we both wish to preserve is under greater strain than for many decades, Britain and Japan are cooperating in new fields.

The Royal Air Force, the Royal Navy and the British Army have all been in Japan for joint exercises since 2016. Just last week, a British frigate, HMS Argyll, saw in the new year in Tokyo. We are working side by side to enforce United Nations sanctions on North Korea and help other countries against terrorism.

Britain and Japan share the same values of human rights and the rule of law, and the same determination to uphold those values around the world.

It is our friendship with other countries which share our outlook that is the vital building block for a confident post-Brexit future.

Jeremy Hunt – 2019 Speech on Britain’s Role in a Post-Brexit World

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Singapore, on 2 January 2019.


I’d like to thank the International Institute for Strategic Studies for giving me the huge honour of delivering this Fullerton Lecture and I’m delighted to be here in Singapore and to renew Britain’s ties with one of our closest and oldest friends.

Our two countries are joined at the hip not just by common interests and our shared dedication to the rule of law, but by a shared history that has bound our two peoples together for 200 years – almost to the day.

Just over a century ago, the great naval strategist, Admiral John Fisher, identified Singapore as one of “five keys” of the world.

The sights and sounds of this remarkable city vindicate his judgement today as then.

From the cranes in the world’s second busiest container port to the towers of a thriving financial centre, Singapore exemplifies the dynamism and vitality of Asia.

And as the natural junction between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific, Singapore has turned itself into the greatest artery for trade in the world, transited by cargo ships 84,000 times in 2017 alone.

Alongside this prodigious development, nearly half of Singapore remains green and lush, including the Botanic Gardens, your first World Heritage Site, and home to a rainforest forming part of Her Majesty the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy.

For a relatively new British Foreign Secretary there are few better sources of wisdom than the late, great Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who served as prime minister of Singapore for three decades and influenced a generation of leaders, including Henry Kissinger and Margaret Thatcher.

So let me start by turning to his lecture on the ‘Fundamentals of Singapore’s Foreign Policy’, delivered in 2009.

“Friendship in international relations is not a function of goodwill or personal affection,” he said. “We must make ourselves relevant so that other countries have an interest in our continued survival and prosperity.”

Words we in Britain should heed in this momentous year in our history.

Thanks to that history, the UK probably has better connections across the globe than nearly any other country. But we cannot depend on sentiment or affection to be relevant to others. Nor should we assume that because of past achievements others will have an interest in our future success.

Not unless we are able to link our success to the success of others – or, as Lee Kuan Yew would have said, make ourselves relevant – and today I want to discuss exactly how we do that.

Singapore’s example

Like Britain on 29th March this year, Singapore too faced an extraordinary challenge back on 9th August 1965 when it separated from its larger neighbour.

In Lee Kuan Yew’s famous words: “Some countries are born independent. Some achieve independence. Singapore had independence thrust upon it.”

Yet his memoirs record how not everyone shared his anguish, least of all the investors who swiftly decided that “independence was good for the economy”. By the second day, the value of almost all of Singapore’s industrial stocks was climbing.

And over the next five decades, Singapore’s real per capita GDP would multiply fifteen-fold to reach $58,000 a head.

Today, Singapore has risen to become the eighth richest country in the world per capita, surpassing Germany, France, Sweden and – though I whisper it softly – the United Kingdom.

As we leave the European Union, Britain can draw encouragement from how Singapore’s separation from the Peninsula did not make it more insular but more open. In Lee Kuan Yew’s phrase, 1965 marked the moment when Singapore “plugged into the international economic grid”.

The transformation of a territory measuring only 26 miles from east to west – wholly devoid of natural resources – was based on unleashing the boundless talent and ambition of Singapore’s people, including by creating schools with the best results in the world.

What was right for Singapore won’t always be right for Britain. We are committed to our social model and as a former Health Secretary I am particularly proud of our National Health Service with universal provision, free at the point of use, and in which my counterpart, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, worked with great dedication for two years.

But there is much we can learn from Singapore, not least the excellence of its education system, the long term investment in infrastructure and a strategic approach to how a nation sustains competitive advantage in the world.

The international order under threat

Britain and its allies were instrumental in setting up the international order that has broadly existed since 1945.

This assembly of rules and institutions – including multilateral bodies like the United Nations, the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation – has combined with an American-led security umbrella to create the conditions for peace, stability and trade, allowing more human beings to lift themselves out of poverty than ever before in history.

Singapore symbolises what is possible with a peaceful and stable international order.

Yet as we look around at the start of 2019, all is not well.

What is wonkishly called the rules-based international system is under greater strain than for many decades – and the evidence is all around us.

In Europe, Russia has annexed 10,000 square miles of Ukraine, seizing the territory of another member of the United Nations by force of arms, in breach of the first principle of international law.

Then, last March, the Kremlin deployed a Novichok nerve agent in Salisbury, the first time a chemical weapon has ever been used on British soil.

In 2017, VX nerve agent was employed in this region to assassinate a North Korean citizen in Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

In the Middle East, the Assad regime has used chemical weapons against its own people in Syria, defying a global ban on these instruments of death that dates back to the Geneva Protocol of 1925. At the same time, Iran has continued its highly destabilising interference in Yemen, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.

In Asia, we saw the expulsion of over 700,000 Rohingya refugees from their homes in Burma, alongside horrific mass killings and rape by the Tatmadaw, the Burmese army, in a brutal act of ethnic cleansing.

And across the world, we can see that far from advancing – as it did when the Berlin Wall fell – democracy is now in retreat. Freedom House reports that 71 countries suffered net declines in political rights and civil liberties in 2017 and by 2030, for the first time in our lifetimes, the world’s biggest economy won’t be a democracy – or even want to become one.

Britain post-Brexit

So where does post-Brexit Britain fit into this picture?

We need to begin with a realistic assessment of our global position. That means not overestimating our strength but not underestimating it either.

We are not a superpower and we don’t have an empire.

But we do have the fifth biggest economy in the world, the second biggest military budget in NATO, the third biggest overseas aid budget, one of the two largest financial centres, the global language, highly effective intelligence services and a world class diplomatic network, including permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council.

We also have immense reserves of soft power, with three of the world’s top ten universities, 450,000 students from overseas in higher education, 39 million visits by tourists in 2017, and a global audience for our media, especially the BBC, measured in the hundreds of millions.

Most importantly, in a world where it is rarely possible for one country to achieve its ambitions alone, we have some of the best connections of any country – whether through the Commonwealth, our alliance with the United States or our friendship with our neighbours in Europe.

Those connections mean that, in this part of the world, Britain is amongst only a handful of European countries with an Embassy or a High Commission in every member of the Association of South-East Asian nations.

Later this year, we will open a new mission to ASEAN headquarters in Jakarta, as we seek to strengthen our relationship with ASEAN after we leave the EU.

The global centre of economic gravity has been shifting eastwards towards Asia for decades – and this trend shows no sign of abating. In 1980, Asia comprised less than 20 percent of the world economy; today the figure has climbed to over a third.

In his new book ‘The Future is Asian’, Parag Khanna writes that of the $30 trillion in extra middle class consumption expected by 2030, only $1 trillion will come from the West. Power always follows money, so the rise of Asia will have a profound impact on the global balance.

Now Britain is already the biggest European investor in South East Asia, with ASEAN trade of nearly £37 billion, and over 4,000 British companies employing more than 50,000 people in Singapore alone.

And those connections are why Britain’s post-Brexit role should be to act as an invisible chain linking together the democracies of the world, those countries which share our values and support our belief in free trade, the rule of law and open societies.

That doesn’t mean being dogmatic or forcing our values on others. And of course we recognise that every country is different.

But it does mean speaking out for those fundamental principles to our friends, as well as those who set themselves up in opposition to them.

It means being active where we have special responsibilities, such as securing peace in Yemen.

And it means working with others where we can be most effective, such as with the French in Libya, NATO in Afghanistan and the United States and Australia in Asia.

That is why I was proud to announce in October the biggest expansion of Britain’s diplomatic network for a generation, with another 335 overseas positions and 14 new Posts around the world and a doubling of the number of British diplomats who speak a foreign language in the country where they serve.

Those nations who share values are going to need to stand together to defend them.

And as happened after the Salisbury nerve agent attack, when 28 democracies came together and expelled 153 Russian spies that was the biggest coordinated expulsion in the history of diplomacy. And sent out a very powerful message.

But we also need to stand together as we reform the multilateral institutions whose noble purposes are all too often compromised by over-heavy bureaucracies and ineffective decision-making.

They were set up in the 20th century but they need to be fit for the 21st century – not least to make sure they operate fairly for the United States which is not just the largest and most powerful democracy but also, in nearly every case, their largest donor.


So to conclude, on 27th January 1819, Sir Stamford Raffles and William Farquhar landed here – and the bicentenary of that event falls in just over three weeks.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong explained its significance in these words: “Had Raffles not landed, Singapore might not have become a unique spot in South East Asia, quite different from the islands in the archipelago around us, or the states in the Malayan Peninsula. But because of Raffles, Singapore became a British colony, a free port and a modern city.”

The British legacy of the rule of law, clean administration, independent courts and the English language have all been part of Singapore’s success.

The people of Singapore have built magnificently on that legacy and our relationship has developed to a point where our countries work side-by-side in almost every field.

Last year Prime Minister Lee attended the Commonwealth summit in London; trade between us rose by 7 percent to nearly £14 billion; and three Royal Navy ships visited Singapore.

As we renew our friendship with Singapore for the next two centuries, I’m delighted that on Friday, Foreign Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan and I will launch our new Partnership for the Future, focused on the digital economy, education, innovation, security and defence.

But as we cooperate in all these areas, let us also remember a higher purpose, namely our joint responsibility to modernise and safeguard an international order that has led to unparalleled peace and prosperity for both our nations.

The United Kingdom will always be ready to work alongside likeminded countries – and few in Asia are more likeminded than Singapore.

So, as Lee Kuan Yew said, let us “seek a maximum number of friends” and “seize opportunities that come with changing circumstances”.

The scale of the challenge demands no less. Thank you very much.

Jeremy Hunt – 2018 Statement on Daesh

Below is the text of the statement made by Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, in the House of Commons on 19 December 2018.

The global coalition against Daesh has continued to make significant progress in recent months. Since counter-Daesh military operations began, the coalition and its partners in Syria and Iraq have recaptured the vast majority of Daesh territory.

Daesh now remain in control only of a small pocket of territory in eastern Syria. Progress has been made towards forcing Daesh out of Hajin town; the RAF and coalition forces are helping to consolidate contested areas and push out towards outlying Daesh positions.​

In Iraq, we are proud to have played a leading role in supporting Iraqi security forces to liberate their country a year ago. A new Government of Iraq have now been formed following the elections in May. I congratulate President Saleh and Prime Minister Abdul Mehdi. We look forward to working with them and their Government.

In Syria, the conflict has entered its eighth year. Our ongoing counter-Daesh efforts there, while successful, are part of a wider context of a brutal civil war. We are playing our part in alleviating humanitarian suffering across Syria. We also continue to push for a negotiated settlement that ends the conflict and protects all Syrians. To that end, we remain committed to supporting the UN-led Geneva process.

As I have previously made clear to the House, the Government are prepared for Daesh to evolve and change its form as it loses territory. Over the past year, we have seen that beginning to take place. Daesh is no longer operating in the open. It is beginning to transition to a clandestine network.

Much remains to be done in the global campaign against Daesh and we must not lose sight of the threat from Daesh. This Government will continue to do what is necessary to protect the British people and our allies and partners. I will provide an oral update on our counter-Daesh efforts in the new year.

Jeremy Hunt – 2018 Speech on Britain and France

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, in Paris, France on 8 November 2018.

t is a great pleasure to be here in Paris this morning, in this historic setting.

This is – to use a little English understatement – an important moment in the future of the relationship between our countries.

There have been many such moments in the long sweep of our history, and we know, without a doubt, that there will be many more in the decades to come.

What matters is what we decide to do with those moments.

Those decisions fall to each generation.

To plot their own course and determine their destiny and that of their countries.

What is unique about the relationship between Britain and France is the extent to which those decisions, those destinies, have been, are, and will be, entwined.

That long history has, as we all know, had…let me put it diplomatically… its high and its lows.

And it is a relationship of competition and cooperation, similarity and difference.

Indeed my view is that it is precisely that mix which gives it its strength – because we have made a choice – for nearly 200 years – to work together.

And it is my contention that the relationship between our countries – born of shared geography, history and culture, and forged through joint struggle and sacrifice, is as important today as it has ever been; that our fortunes are as bound together as they have ever been; and that the case for the closest possible partnership between Britain and France is as strong as it has ever been.

But how that partnership evolves depends on the decisions we make now.

So today I want to look at things in the round – to consider our past, our present and our future – the future that, yes does mean getting Brexit right, but which goes beyond that and will be for the next generation to build.

The Past

But I want to start with the past.

This week – of all weeks – our shared past has particular resonance and weight.

This Sunday, at 11 o’clock, it will be 100 years exactly since the guns fell silent on the Western front.

At the Arc de Triomphe here in Paris and at the Cenotaph in London, and in towns and villages across France and Britain, our countries will commemorate the end of the War.

Tomorrow, the French President and the British Prime Minister will be together in the battlefields of the Somme – scene of some of the bloodiest fighting.

They will remember our shared sacrifice. The British Army lost 20,000 dead in a single day on 1 July 1916. The Somme was our Verdun.

This was a war which changed our countries and our continent forever.

It was a war in which our destinies as nations were yoked together – in which we fought and bled side by side for over four years – and in which, in the end, we prevailed.

We sometimes forget that in the closing months of that war, the two million soldiers of the British Army fought under French command for the first time.

The British Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, said that Marshal Foch was the ‘only general in the field with the necessary decision and vision to plan out such a campaign’.

After the Armistice, Foch said ‘I am conscious of having served England as I served my own country’ – words carved in stone beneath his statue near Victoria Station in London.

But the victory that Franco-British cooperation made possible came at a terrible price.

Across France, 575,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers lie buried, alongside 1.4 million French comrades who fell alongside them.

Row after row of silent white headstones speak more eloquently than we ever could on the strength of our alliance, and the depth of our shared sacrifice.

I am fortunate to come from a generation which has never known such horror, and which has been blessed by the peace and friendship we have built with Germany, something we will also mark this weekend.

But if our shared history has taught us anything, it is surely to value peace – and never to take it for granted.

Of course, our history goes back much further than a hundred years.

Britain’s long and complex relationship with France is one of the most important that we have with any country in the world.

We are approaching 1,000 years since William the Conqueror landed near Hastings, and the Duke of Normandy became the King of England.

The Bayeux tapestry – which chronicles the story of William’s arrival in England – turns out to have been just the opening chapter in the Franco-British story.

If we brought the tapestry up to date, it would stretch all the way from Paris to London and back.

It would tell of our highs and our lows, our friendships and our enmities, our triumphs and our defeats.

That is why President Macron’s decision to lend the Bayeux tapestry to Britain – announced at the Sandhurst Summit earlier this year – so captured the public imagination on the other side of the Channel.

It represents – literally – the common thread of our shared history, going to the heart of both countries’ identity.

That sense of similarity and difference runs through the next nine centuries.

And it extends into the most recent period of our story during which – for nearly 200 years now – Britain and France have not only been at peace, but in alliance, standing together against danger and when, twice in a century, the very existence of our nations was threatened.

The Present

Why does all this matter?

Because it is not the stuff of books and museums.

It is the underpinning of the world we built – together.

And in that world our countries are as closely connected, our story is just as interwoven as it has ever been.

Geographical neighbours; separated by 33 kilometres of what Churchill called that ‘strip of salt water’, but joined now by a tunnel through which 57,000 pass every single day.

Hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens choose to live in each others’ countries, where they make such a valued contribution.

I would like to take this opportunity to repeat the Prime Minister’s commitment to the French people in Britain – and all EU citizens – protecting their rights after we leave the EU. And I am sure that the same assurances will be offered to British citizens living here in France.

About 12 million Britons visited France last year – and more French people visited the UK than any other nationality.

It is a relationship that is underpinned by human ties of friendship.

And at a Governmental level, by the fact that Britain and France are both European nations with a global vocations, who share the same values, and who see the world in broadly the same way. We helped fashion the global order, and we share an interest in defending it.

We face the same terrorist threats, and we know that we must work hand in hand to defeat them.

We both know that sometimes to defend the peace, you need to be ready to use military force.

We know that the threats to European peace and security are more serious than they have been for a generation, and that as Europe’s only two major military powers, we need to confront those threats together.

We both believe in nuclear deterrence, and in maintaining our deterrents for our own defence and the defence of our allies.

That is why we so often form joint positions, including on the Security Council where we both have permanent seats, to deal with an increasingly unstable world.

That is why when our countries have been attacked by terrorists, there was such an outpouring of mutual solidarity.

We will never forget the moment after the Manchester attack when President Macron walked from the Elysee Palace to the British Embassy to express France’s solidarity, and the crowd at the Stade de France sang the British national anthem – nor, when, after the Bataclan attack the crowd at Wembley sang the Marseillaise.

That is why, after the chemical weapons attack in Salisbury in March, France rallied to the UK’s side, leading a robust European response, working together to expel scores of Russian diplomats from our continent.

And in April, British and French aircraft, with our US allies, acted together to strike chemical weapons installations in Syria, and to enforce the global ban on the use of chemical weapons which was itself born out of the suffering in the trenches 100 years ago.

That is why our defence cooperation – rooted in the Lancaster House accords – is so deep.

RAF Chinook helicopters are flying missions in the Sahel, transporting French troops as part of Operation Barkhane.

Together we have forged a combined joint expeditionary force, which will be combat capable by 2020.

This year our warships have both upheld freedom of navigation by sailing through the South China Sea.

And our cooperation extends far beyond the security domain to genomics, artificial intelligence, cyber and space.

The scale and breadth of cooperation is probably closer than it has ever been.

The Future

Which brings us back to Bayeux.

Now, as President Macron said at Sandhurst, we are weaving a new tapestry.

What path will it follow, what scenes will it depict?

Because we are at a moment of decision, and the answers we give in the coming weeks and months could determine the shape of Franco-British relations, and of relations between Britain and her European partners, for many years, perhaps decades to come.

Which brings me, of course, to Brexit.

And here our history is again relevant: for all our similarities, we are also different.

I understand that for so many in France that the outcome of the referendum result was disappointing.

I know that in France the Brexit vote is often seen as Britain pulling up the drawbridge, turning its back on Europe and reaching out for ‘le grand large’.

But that is not how we see it.

And this is where our peculiar mixture of similarity and difference is important.

France sees the EU as vital to its destiny, to the stability of the continent and above all to its relationship with Germany.

We recognise that. We understand it. We value it.

But Britain has never felt quite the same, for the simple reason that our experiences have been different.

Yes, we are similar in that we are both European countries who cherish our global role.

But we differ, I believe, in our view of the process and goals of EU integration. The reality is that our public has always been reluctant about the political character of the Union and uncertain about its ultimate destination.

That made the experience of the pooling of sovereignty which the EU entails uncomfortable for us – and I think that goes a long way to explaining the result of our referendum.

Indeed for most British people, their concept of Europe has never been synonymous with the European Union.

Whereas for so many people in France, I believe, the European Union is at the heart of their notion of Europe.

Why does this matter?

Because so far in our recent history we have been able to draw strengths from our similarities, but recognise and respect our differences in the choices we have made together.

And we have now reached another such moment of decision, and the decisions we take as Governments will have far-reaching consequences.

Our people have voted in a referendum to leave the EU and its decision-making bodies.

We must respect their democratic choice.

But we intend to remain a European power into the future, as we have always been in the past.

A European power, whose values remain European values.

A European power committed to the security of the European continent.

A European power with a European economic model, with universal public services and the highest standard of consumer and environment protection.

A European power, whose children continue to do exchanges with each other and get to know and treasure each others’ countries – as I did at the age of 7 in Angers, in France; whose students study together; whose scientists and researchers and Nobel Prize winners continue to push forward the frontiers of human knowledge together.

That is the strategic choice we have made in our approach to these negotiations. From our perspective we see no contradiction in wanting to continue to work together even as the institutional relationship changes.

And so?

What does this mean for our future, and for this negotiation, which is now entering its crucial endgame?

I would suggest three things.

First, our shared past, does not, of course mean that we do not remain two nations, each pursuing our national interests as we judge them, in the interests of the people we are elected to serve.

But, having thought deeply about these issues, my view is that just as our interest and choice is to remain close to Europe, the EU’s interest lies too in close cooperation – for our security, our economies and our peoples.

So I hope that we can redouble our efforts to reach an agreement.

Second, we each need to make a particular effort to understand the other’s perspective.

I know there are concerns that a deal which allows the UK to have the advantages of membership without the obligations, could lead to unfair competition and ultimately to the unravelling of the EU.

I want to be 100 percent clear. We have heard those concerns, and we believe that we can address them. Indeed that the only way to address them is for an ambitious agreement that provides the kind of guarantees necessary.

Remember this basic fact.

From 29 March next year, we will be on the outside, not the inside.

There will be no British Prime Minister turning up at European Council meetings, no Ministers deciding new legislation, no British MEPs, no British judges on the European Court of Justice.

So we are not, as is sometimes suggested, even occasionally here in France, trying to have our ‘cake and eat it’.

But we have offered a framework for our future relationship which should give you confidence that we are not going to pursue a race to the bottom, and which would allow our economic and security relationships to continue, not as they were before – but on a dependable basis on which we could continue to build in the years ahead.

A relationship in which the UK will be a third country – but would remain tied by bonds of friendship and commerce for decades to come.

The alternatives do not deliver that certainty. They make a choice for friction – at our border with queues at Dover and Calais, in the exchange of information between our security services and in greater divergence in our rules and regulation.

That choice would seem to me to be a mistake.

My last point is this.

This is not a dry, technical discussion, although sometimes it can seem that way – with all the talk of regulatory standards and implementation periods and the like.

At heart, it is about the destiny of our ancient nations – and of our ancient continent – and how best we shape our future as European nations.

About how we weave the next chapter of the tapestry and what story it will tell.

That is why I feel so passionately that we need to get this right, that we need to make the right choices in the weeks to come.

So that the generations who come after us and look across the Channel will see that in 2019 Britain left the European Union, and a chapter ended.

But the story of the European Union continued, and that the story of Britain’s friendship and alliance with Europe and above all with France not only endured, but grew in strength.

In other words the end of a chapter did not mean the end of the book. Far from it. It mean the beginning of a new chapter, in which we found new ways to work closely together.

Those future generations will see, I hope, that confronted with the common threats before us, and which are growing, we faced up to them together.

That together we defended the post-war international order and institutions that are today under threat.

That we together stayed true to our values and democratic principles that are being challenged – in practice and in theory – as never before in my lifetime.

That we together adapted to the challenges and opportunities that globalisation is posing to our economies and more importantly our societies.

I know it is not easy but that is my hope.

That is Britain’s hope.

I believe that is France’s hope, and that of our European partners.

Let’s find the political will – as friends, as allies, as partners – to turn that hope into reality.

Jeremy Hunt – 2018 Speech at Policy Exchange

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, at Policy Exchange on 31 October 2018.

In 1826, my predecessor Foreign Secretary George Canning described the global balance of power as a “standard perpetually varying, as civilisation advances, and as new nations spring up and take their place among established political communities”.

This was an era when South American countries were seizing independence from Spain and Portugal. The New World was beginning to upset the balance of the Old and Canning saw an opportunity for Britain. An opportunity to rethink British diplomacy, to seek new allies across the Atlantic, and thwart old foes France and Spain.

Canning had his own bed in the Foreign Office and when not lying in it complaining about his gout, he ordered British emissaries to sign trade agreements with Mexico and Colombia.

Times have changed. I have no bed in the Foreign Office and I am happy to inform you that I don’t have gout either. Well, at least not yet.

But this country is at a pivotal, historic moment. The global balance of power is shifting once more and Post-Brexit, our place within it as well.

And whilst at the same time our democratic values are arguably under greater threat than at any time since the fall of the Berlin Wall, I want to argue today that we can use our influence, our reach and power to defend our values by becoming an invisible chain that links the world’s democracies.

Why we should reassess our global role

With the backdrop of Brexit, there is no doubt that our role has to change.

It is a legal and structural change it will have a profound impact on our foreign policy and whilst our commitment to European security remains unbreakable, the nature of our relationship with our closest neighbours will naturally change and we need to ensure this is a change for the better, not the worse.

But it isn’t just Brexit that’s causing change, other events are even more significant. Let’s just take 3 examples:

First: the rise of China and the Asian powerhouse economies. Their growth alters the balance of power with all the speed Canning foretold.

In 1980, China comprised just 2% of the world economy. Today its 15%. By 2030, China is set to overtake the United States as the biggest economy in the world. By 2050, the combined economies of China and India will exceed the GDPs of the entire G7 – the US, UK, Japan, France, Germany, Canada and Italy – put together.

Power always follows money so we must not underestimate the profound impact this will have.

Secondly there is a growing threat to democracy and democratic values. It’s now clear that the spread of democracy has slowed, gradually come to a halt, in some respects even gone into reverse.

We may be suffering what the scholar Larry Diamond described as “a democratic recession”. Last year, according to Freedom House, 71 countries suffered “net declines in political rights and civil liberties” and this is a reversal of what seemed like the inevitable onward march of democracy and democratic values after the lifting of the Iron Curtain.

It is of more than symbolic importance that by 2030, for the first time in our lifetimes the world’s largest economy will not be a democracy and then we have to factor in something else, the growing threats to the long-established, rules-based international order.

It is not just within countries that we see change taking place. The interaction between countries is changing too.

Having a rules-based international order has made us more prosperous and successful than ever before in the history of humanity. But it is now openly questioned.

Chemical weapons have been used to lethal effect in Syria and for the first time in our history, they have been used on the streets of Britain too.

Free trade is under threat with the World Trade Organisation facing the most severe challenge in its history. If new trade barriers were to appear after Brexit, that would make things even worse.

The international order that has existed since 1945 was, in large measure, a creation of Britain and its allies.

At its heart was a simple credo: namely that the best way to create stability was to build a system where might is not automatically right, and one where every country, large or small, lives under the protection and security of the UN Charter.

By and large, it succeeded: for the first time in history, the bleak vision of Thucydides, that “the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must”, was no longer always automatically valid. The United Kingdom with its Empire declining and the United States in its ascendancy determined to find a better way. And through a pattern of alliances and multilateral organisations, that vision came into plain sight.

But today that system is under threat. A new order is rising alongside the old. The democratic values that once bound us together are threatened. The post-war international order that we built to defend them is being questioned. And people are turning to its architects and asking: “what now?”

In Britain, we’ve got to ask ourselves the same: what’s our plan? What’s our role? How can we strengthen and defend our way of life and the values we believe in?

Britain’s future role

To start, we must build on the strengths that are rooted in our national character.

We are the home of parliamentary democracy. We have a profound belief in this country’s institutions that allow the peaceful transfer of political power.

As an outward-looking, seafaring nation, we have long known how to build alliances in every corner of the globe. As a country endowed with the best universities, scientists, engineers, artists and authors – alongside, of course, the world’s language – we have immense reserves of soft power.

We have kept our promise to spend 0.7% of national income on overseas aid, giving this country the third biggest development budget in the world and our history has also created special bonds with the most powerful democracy, the United States, and the world’s largest democracy, India.

We have the closest of relationships with other parts of the English-speaking world, from Ireland to Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The success of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting this year in London, one of the biggest ever gatherings of its kind, also shows the enduring strength of our friendships within the world’s most important north-south alliance.

Our network of friendships is unparalleled. But it’s underpinned by something more than shared history, shared language or shared culture.

Those friendships are underpinned by the values – democracy, the rule of law, separation of powers, respect for individual civil and political rights, a belief in free trade – bind us. And when those values are under threat, Britain’s role – I would argue – is to defend them.

Which is why to do so, we must become an invisible chain linking the world’s democracies.

And we can have confidence that such an approach will work because alliances built on shared values are always more durable than those based on transactional convenience.

We must remember that the impressive progress of modern history has happened not by accident but by design. Its continued success can’t be taken for granted. So it is up to us to strengthen our resolve, make the most of our unique position and forge an unbreakable chain that will hold those vital values that link our countries.

Raising our diplomatic game

So how do we do this?

First, we must reinvigorate and expand British diplomacy. In the past you may have heard of retrenchment and retreat. Not any more.

Today, I am announcing the biggest expansion of Britain’s diplomatic network for a generation, including 12 new Posts and nearly 1,000 more personnel.

I can confirm that by the end of next year, we will open six new High Commissions in Lesotho, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), the Bahamas, Tonga, Samoa, and Vanuatu.

We will base new Resident Commissioners in Antigua & Barbuda, Grenada, and St Vincent & the Grenadines (nice job for someone).

We will upgrade the British Office in Chad to a full Embassy and establish a new British mission to the headquarters of the Association of South-East Asian Nations in Jakarta.

Thereafter, we will open new British embassies in Djibouti and Niger.

By the end of 2020, we will send 335 more British diplomats overseas, and reinforce the Foreign Office in London with another 328 personnel. We will hire another 329 locally-engaged staff in our embassies around the world.

In total, our network will gain 992 extra people, meaning we are represented in 160 countries – of the 192 countries of the UN, that’s the same as France and only marginally less than United States and China.

At the same time, we will also strengthen our skills and expertise.

Over the next 5 years we will build on William Hague’s far-sighted decision to reopen the Foreign Office Language School by increasing the number of languages taught from 50 to 70. The 20 new languages will vary from the Central Asian tongues of Kazakh and Kyrgyz, to Shona in Zimbabwe and Gujarati in India.

Within the next 10 years, we will double the number of British diplomats who speak a foreign language in the country where they serve from 500 at present, to 1,000, meaning that getting on for half of our overseas postings will be staffed by linguists.

We will also broaden the pool of talent we tap into for our Ambassadors.

As we regain control of our trade policy, it makes sense to open up applications to external candidates, so that 1 or 2 positions every year might be filled by people with important experience from outside the civil service, especially the world of commerce.

The strength of our network is its professionalism, and that’s what I think has given us what I believe is the finest diplomatic service in the world. But we must never close our eyes to the approaches and skills of other industries.

I am sure there are experienced, multi-lingual businesspeople who would welcome the chance to enter the service of their country at this critical time and the Foreign Office of the future will welcome them to some of our key Ambassadorial posts.

We will also ensure that those who champion Britain abroad better represent the country they serve.

So this year we launched a new university outreach programme, visiting every part of Britain, to encourage applications from under-represented groups. This includes not just women and BAME candidates, but also those from backgrounds that have not traditionally felt comfortable applying for a career in the service.

Finally, a small but I think important detail, is something that indicates how I intend our diplomacy to develop. When I arrived, we had secure phone connections in my office to the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. I have now added Japan, France and Germany to the list.

It means a lot more technology in my office than in Canning’s day – but also allows for the strengthening of important alliances that he would have thoroughly approved.

Diplomacy with a purpose

Taken together, this amounts to a considerable investment in our service, its capacity and its future. Adding links to the chain that will allow us to play our part in uniting those countries who share our values.

Now we must use that network to get to work.

First, we must redouble our efforts to defend the rules-based international order. To do that, we need multilateral organisations that are fit for purpose. Reforming out-dated and bureaucratic structures is the best way to make sure the institutions they serve do not collapse.

That means delivering UN reform, as advocated by UN Secretary General Guterres.

It means fairer burden-sharing in NATO, which continues to be the bedrock of European security.

It means WTO reform, so that we succeed in warding off the dangerous temptations of protectionism.

It means reforming the World Bank, so its governance reflects the changing balance of the global economy.

And it means reforming the structures of the Commonwealth, so there is proper accountability for the Secretariat and a more effective decision-making process.

To strengthen that invisible chain between the democracies, we must also ensure we are better at acting in concert when we face real and present threats.

That was shown to great effect after the nerve agent attack in Salisbury. Then, far from buckling in the face of Russian aggression, 28 democracies came together and expelled 153 Russian spies. The biggest coordinated expulsion in the history of diplomacy.

When we act in concert, we are strong. When we act together, the price for transgression becomes too high for the perpetrator.

But this nimbleness of response often eludes us. So I want our fine diplomats to find a way to do this more effectively. And that means going beyond traditional diplomacy focused on other governments and creating new partnerships, including with the private sector.

Nor is it solely when we face security threats that we should strengthen the chains that connect like-minded countries.

We must be better at standing together to defend the values we share. Whether that is: the prevention of sexual violence in conflict, the struggle against the illegal wildlife trade, or threats to freedom of expression.

Because access to fair and accurate information is also something we should remember is the lifeblood of democracy.

For that reason – and prompted in no small part by the tragic killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi – I am placing the resources of the Foreign Office behind the cause of media freedom. This campaign will be marked by a major international conference on media freedom that I will host in London next year.

And finally, as we strengthen our diplomatic efforts, we must never forget the importance of speaking from a position of strength.

Soft power matters but it is immensely more effective when backed up by hard power. In the last resort, we need to be able to call on our fine armed forces, whose importance was recognised by new funding in the Budget this week.

So we will continue to spend at least 2% of GDP on defence, and we will replace our independent nuclear deterrent. And we will continue to call on others in NATO to play their part too.


Almost 200 years on, Canning’s law still holds: new nations rise and the global order changes. The apparently inevitable progress of democracy since the fall of the Berlin Wall is no more.

Like Canning we must seize the opportunities that present themselves within the tumult. We must work to strengthen and defend our values across the globe.

And as we face our post-Brexit future, Britain has a role to play. It is one that we are uniquely suited to deliver. Remembering our responsibilities. Not overstating our strength, but not understating it either. Because right now our history, our networks and our unique combination of soft and hard power gives us a real ability to shape the course of history in line with our values.

So let’s play our part helping to build that invisible chain between those who share our values. And make it as strong and resilient as it needs to be as new nations rise and the world order is challenged anew.

Jeremy Hunt – 2018 Speech to the Illegal Wildlife Trade conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, on 11 October 2018.

On behalf of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office – and our co-hosts, the Department for International Development and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – I’m delighted to welcome you to this conference.

Our task simply is to address one of the greatest challenges facing humankind. How can we protect the magnificence of the natural world from the criminal gangs who threaten human beings just as surely as they plunder the planet?

The world’s population now stands at 7.5 billion human beings, that’s a fivefold increase on a century ago, reflecting humanity’s remarkable progress against poverty and disease. Since 1990, the global infant mortality rate has fallen by over 50 per cent. Almost everywhere, people are living longer and healthier lives – and we should give thanks for that cardinal achievement.

Yet as we have succeeded, other species have gone dramatically into decline. It was Yuval Noah Harari, from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, who described homo sapiens as the “deadliest species in the annals of Planet Earth”. By about 12,000 years ago – long before our ancestors invented the wheel or iron tools – we human beings had already exterminated about half of the world’s large mammals.

Today, the process has gone still further. If you placed all the people in the world on a giant set of scales, they would weigh about 300 million tonnes. But if you gathered all the surviving wild animals – of every size and species – and placed them on the other end of the scales, their combined mass would be less than 100 million tonnes, three times less than us.

The global population of vertebrate animals has fallen by almost 60 per cent since 1970. It’s even worse news for particular animals: forty years ago, Africa had about 1.3 million elephants. Today, the figure is down by two thirds to 415,000. In Asia, the population of wild tigers has dropped by 95 per cent since 1900.

The illegal wildlife trade is not the sole cause of the disappearance of wildlife, but we all suffer from its malign effect.

The same criminal networks that smuggle tusks and horns and hardwood also traffic in guns and drugs and people. They launder money, engage in modern slavery, fund conflict and thrive on corruption. By one estimate, the illegal wildlife trade is the fourth most profitable criminal enterprise in the world, generating as much as $23 billion.

Last year, the authorities in Hong Kong achieved the biggest ivory seizure in history, intercepting a shipment of tusks weighing 7.2 tonnes. For that one consignment, the smugglers or their accomplices will have killed at least 700 elephants.

In the process, these bandits were looting the natural wealth of Africa. From Mongolia to Laos, from Angola to the Amazon, the illegal wildlife trade robs sovereign nations of their resources and deprives some of the poorest countries in the world of the revenues of their biodiversity.

The World Bank estimates that governments lose as much as $15 billion every year from illegal logging. Money that could be spent on schools and roads and hospitals; instead much of it goes to criminal gangs who harm people even as they despoil nature.

If anyone asks why we devote effort and resources to combating the illegal wildlife trade when millions of human beings still endure war, hunger and disease, then here is the answer. This trade threatens some of the poorest people in the world, destroying livelihoods, empowering criminals, and depriving governments of the means to provide essential services.

The interests of humanity cannot be separated from the interests of the natural world. The one depends on the other.

So we are all here today because of our common resolve to combat this trade – and we are all looking for the most effective methods. Let me share some of the actions that Britain has taken, and where we think they could be more effective alongside a global coalition.

My predecessor, Lord Hague, called the first London Conference on this subject in 2014 and the framework we agreed then provides the best guidance for our response.

Firstly, we need to eradicate the market for illegal wildlife products. Secondly, we must ensure our laws are strong enough to deter the criminals. Thirdly, we must rigorously enforce those laws. Finally, we need to provide sustainable livelihoods for those who might otherwise be tempted by the short term gains of poaching.

Last year, the British Parliament passed the Criminal Finances Act, strengthening our powers to combat money laundering and freeze unexplained wealth. Since then, we have placed another law before Parliament that would ban domestic ivory sales.

We are now testing our legislation and enforcement capabilities using the methods developed by the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime. Britain will be the first G20 country to go through this exercise and put our own house in order.

We will also contribute £250 million to the UN’s Global Environment Facility by 2022. Along with other donors, we secured agreement for a 30 per cent increase in the budget of the UN’s Global Wildlife Programme.

The Department for International Development is working alongside many of the governments represented here today in order to help provide alternative livelihoods for poor communities.

We are helping countries to improve their governance, strengthen the rule of law and achieve sustainable economic growth. I was pleased to announce another £3.5 million of technical support to help countries “follow the money” behind the grand corruption associated with the illegal wildlife trade.

The criminals don’t respect borders; if one nation toughens its laws, the smugglers will move into a neighbour. If we improve the protection of one endangered wildlife population, they will target another species – or the same species in a different country.

Our response has to rest on international cooperation and it’s so fantastic that 85 governments are represented here today. We welcome the trans-frontier approach to conservation – including “Green Corridors”- which we will do everything we can to support.

This conference will complement our joint work at the UN and CITES, which is the right forum to agree international rules and identify any species in need of extra protection.

But we know that governments and international organisations can’t address this problem alone. That’s why this conference includes businesspeople, NGOs, scientists, law enforcement experts and youth organisations.

We have brought the Interpol Wildlife Crime Working Group to London because we need to ensure that seizures result in prosecutions and convictions.

I offer a special welcome to the game rangers who are present. In the last year, over 100 brave rangers have been killed in the struggle to protect wildlife. We must do more to equip and safeguard the courageous people who risk their lives to guard the natural majesty of their homelands.

I welcome the representatives of communities who live alongside wildlife. I know how easy it is to romanticise that experience if you happen to reside in the safety of London so we all look forward to hearing more about how to reduce human-wildlife conflict from people who understand the issue best.

Yesterday, His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge launched a new private sector Financial Taskforce, designed to bolster the struggle against the illegal wildlife trade.

I hope that we all will use this conference to create new networks and learn from what has gone right as well as what has gone wrong. Nepal, for example, has doubled its tiger population since 2009; in fact not a single rhino or tiger has been poached in Nepal for the last four years.

Let me close by repeating my welcome to London. Let us all leave this conference with a renewed determination to thwart the criminal gangs who inflict grave injury on people with deadly consequences for animals. If we fail to act, quite simply we will never be forgiven.

Jeremy Hunt – 2018 Statement on Daesh

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, at the UN Security Council on 23 August 2018.

I shall now make a statement in my capacity as the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom, of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. I’d like to open the session by thanking Mr Voronkov and Ms Coninsx for their briefing on the Secretary-General’s report on the threat posed by the Daesh to international peace and security. I’d also like to welcome Dr Joana Cook. Thank you for sharing the key findings of your report on Daesh women and minors which shows the value of inviting civil society and researchers to inform our discussions.

In the summer of 2014 Daesh swept down the Tigris and Euphrates valleys capturing thousands of square miles of Iraq and Syria and imposing its pitiless rule on millions of people in an area that was once the cradle of civilization. Over the next 3 years, attacks that were directed, inspired or enabled by Daesh would claim more than 30,000 lives including 181 attacks outside Iraq and Syria.

The world responded by forming a Global Coalition to defeat this threat and military action by many countries including my own has driven Daesh from almost all of its domain and liberated millions from its oppression.

But the point I wish to emphasise today is that this has not been vanquished and the root causes of its emergence have yet to be resolved. Britain shares the assessment of the Secretary-General’s report that Daesh is responding to the loss of territory by evolving into a covert terrorist network that branches as far apart as Afghanistan, Libya and Yemen.

Daesh takes advantage of ungoverned space and weak states. Its terrorists do not necessarily require a central direction and they’ve demonstrated their ability to strike in Europe and Southeast Asia. The Secretary-General’s report estimates that as many as 20,000 Daesh fighters remain in Syria and Iraq, including the citizens of many countries. About 900 people with links to the United Kingdom have travelled to join the conflicts in Syria and Iraq. About 40% returned to the UK in the early days of Daesh’s so-called Caliphate and some 20% are believed dead. The rest are still in Iraq, Syria or elsewhere.

Our response to this enduring threat should fall into 2 parts. First we must press on with military operations against Daesh. British forces continue to play their part as members of the global coalition and UK leads in a vital area of strategic communications against Daesh. This year the British government has committed another £20 million to counter-terrorism projects in countries we assessed to be most at risk from returning foreign fighters.

Second, we should renew our focus on prevention. By addressing the root causes of the emergence of Daesh. This means doing more to support peace and reconciliation in Iraq and a lasting political settlement in Syria. It also means responding to specific humanitarian problems. For example, up to 20% of foreign fighters globally are women and girls. Almost 10% of the 40,000 individuals who travelled to join Daesh were minors. Many of whom have witnessed or experienced horrific violence and been exposed to radicalization. Some will be suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. We need to act to prevent these minors from becoming the next generation of terrorists. The UN has a vital role in the struggle against Daesh consistent with the responsibility of this Council to address threats to international peace and security. This Council made air travel more secure by passing Resolution 2309 – the first ever Resolution on aviation security. And it addressed the threat from foreign fighters in Resolutions 2178 and 2396. Earlier in 2005, this Council passed Resolution 1624 condemning incitement and repudiating all attempts to justify or glorify acts of terrorism.

The Council should be willing to consider further action in order to counter the use of the internet by terrorists for propaganda and fundraising. Prevention is a key pillar of the UK’s approach to counter-terrorism. Our aim is to identify anyone at risk of radicalization and seek to reintegrate them into society. Agencies and local governments from health education social services and the police routinely meet to identify individuals at risk and refer them to programs run by specialists in de-radicalisation. This approach focused on prevention rather than prosecution after a crime has been committed has turned more than more 500 people away from terrorism in the UK.

Over the years we’ve learned lessons and refined our Prevent programme. We stand ready to share our experiences with countries that face similar problems. Societies that are confident about their beliefs and values and hold governments to account are societies that are resistant to the virus of terrorism. The key to success is partnership between many nations. We mustn’t lose sight of the importance of those partnerships even as Daesh loses its grip on Syria and Iraq. I look forward to our discussion today on how we can act together to prevent and counter the evolving threat from Daesh. Thank you.

Jeremy Hunt – 2018 Speech at United States Institute For Peace

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, at the United States Institute for Peace on 21 August 2018.

In 1898 when Theodore Roosevelt had just completed his tenure as the relatively lowly Assistant Secretary of the Navy, he said: “There comes a time in the life of a nation, as in the life of an individual, when it must face great responsibilities. We have now reached that time… all that we can decide is whether we shall bear ourselves well or ill.”

History will surely judge that the United States lived up to Roosevelt’s challenge. Thanks to wise decisions made by him and his successors, strong American leadership has put in place a global order that has led to unparalleled peace and prosperity. No small part of that contribution has been made by the United States Institute for Peace and I am privileged to be making these comments here today.

This period in our history has seen not just the defeat of fascism and communism but the emergence of an international order based on the application of law rather than might. And the result? An exponential growth in trade, leading to extraordinary advances in economic and social prosperity across the globe.

This is borne out by virtually every indicator, even if they struggle to capture the headlines. For example, notwithstanding terrible recent bloodshed in Syria, the number of conflict-related deaths has fallen from 5 per 100,000 people across the globe in 1984 to just 1.2 per 100,000 in 2016. At the same time average life expectancy has risen from 31 in 1900 to 72 last year.

If you look at the poorest countries you see even more spectacular progress: when I was born in 1966 half of humanity lived in extreme poverty – now it is just 9%, with 137,000 people emerging from this condition every single day over the last 25 years.

It is probably not hyperbole to say this period has been the most productive and successful in the 300,000 years that homo sapiens has existed. But how confident can we be that this democratic political and economic order which has done us so proud will actually be sustained?

Four challenges to the post-war order

After the fall of the Berlin Wall many assumed we had reached ‘the end of history’ – that western liberal democracies were so obviously the best way of running a society that no one would ever question their uniquely successful combination of economic and political freedoms. Indeed what we used to call ‘Western’ values’ have in some ways become universal, adopted by citizens in Africa and Asia as much as Europe and America.

But we now know that such unalloyed optimism was misplaced. Not only is our democratic model declining in attractiveness for too many people but globalisation itself appears in retreat. Whilst in the 30 years after 1970 the number of democracies grew from 32 to 77, in the period since 2006 freedom has been in decline. According to Freedom House, 71 countries suffered net declines in political rights and civil liberties last year – and less than half of UN member states are designated ‘free’.

Four developments in particular should give us cause for concern:

Firstly the established rules of international conduct are repeatedly being flouted by major countries like Russia. The seizure of Crimea in 2014 was the first time that territory has been annexed in Europe by force of arms since 1945. But in fact it was not the Kremlin’s first territorial incursion in this century, which was the invasion of Georgia in 2008.

At the same time, we have also seen the open flouting of international norms on the use of chemical weapons by both Russia and Syria – in contravention of the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1997 to which both countries are parties.

As a result hundreds have died horrific deaths in Syria. And this March the Russian government even used a banned nerve agent on the streets of Salisbury in Britain in an attempt to assassinate Sergei and Yulia Skripal. One British citizen was tragically killed as a result.

Such aggressive and malign behaviour undermines the international order that keeps us safe. And of course we must engage with Moscow, but we must also be blunt: Russia’s foreign policy under President Putin has made the world a more dangerous place.

The second challenge is the changing East-West balance of power.

By 2030 China is forecast to overtake America as the world’s biggest economy. 800 million Chinese have lifted themselves out of grinding poverty, surely something everyone should welcome. By 2050 China and India are projected to account for a greater share of global GDP than the G7 – compared to less than half of that level today.

But with economic power comes political responsibility. And whilst China has been vocal in its support for some features of the existing system, particularly elements that enable it to trade freely with the world, it has been less supportive in other areas, refusing for example to oppose Russia’s annexation of Crimea or support measures to strengthen the international ban on chemical weapons. Our hope must be for consistent, strong backing from China for the international rules-based order – and the key will be to get the right balance of competition and cooperation so that we can secure shared objectives wherever possible.

Then there is the third challenge, namely the fraying domestic support for democratic systems in our own countries.

Since the financial crash of 2008, many voters have started to question globalisation and reject political leaders they associate as defending it. This has combined with a sense that attempts to export our own economic and political model to countries like Iraq have ended up as spectacular failures.

Disenchantment is so bad that according to one poll 1 in 10 people in Europe – and 1 in 6 in America – think it would be a good thing for ‘the army to rule’.

Added to which are basic challenges to the plumbing of our systems. The heart of any democracy is freedom of expression, which allows citizens to access independent information to help decide who to vote for. But the ubiquity of fake news, social media targeting and foreign attempts to manipulate elections have undermined confidence that this can actually happen.

The result is cynicism about both democratic systems and the elites who run them, a cynicism that would be fuelled further if companies with a global reach such as Google were to accept censorship as the price of entry into the Chinese market. The result is that those of us – myself included – who strongly support the basic tenets of the post-1945 international order find we are not just having to make the arguments for it abroad, but at home as well.

We should never be complacent about one further challenge, namely the continuing threat from Islamist-inspired terrorism. This continues to use distorted religious dogma to reject the entire basis of the international order – including the modern state system itself which they would like to replace with a so-called Caliphate.

Since the dark days of 9/11 in New York and 7/7 in London we have made great military progress towards defeating extremist organisations. But truthfully we have made far less progress in understanding why those movements arose in the first place so we can prevent their re-emergence. Nor have we successfully reassured our own peoples that such ideologies will never be allowed to threaten our own open culture.

So how should we respond to these challenges? I want to suggest 3 things in particular.

1. Firstly we need to rebuild the strongest possible alliances between countries that share the same values.

The visible advantage that won NATO the Cold War was military capability. The invisible weapon was a rock-solid alliance of like-minded nations that sat behind it. Those shared values meant no opponent was ever in doubt about our red lines.

Henry Kissinger, who I am privileged to be meeting in a couple of days in New York, said that “credibility for a state plays the role of character for a human being. It provides a guarantee that its assurances can be relied upon by friends and its threats taken seriously by adversaries.” But instead of building up our credibility, we have been weakening it.

A limp response to Russia’s intervention in Georgia in 2008 can only have made the 2014 annexation of Crimea more likely. Our failure to respond to Assad’s use of sarin gas in 2013 must be at least part of the reason why he chose to use chemical weapons again in 2014, 2015, 2017 and in April this year.

Not every hostile action constitutes the crossing of a ‘red line’ and we will always need a graduated menu of responses. But the strengthening of our credibility in support of a rules-based international order must become a central goal of foreign policy.

Those who do not share our values need to know that there will always be a serious price to pay if red lines are crossed – whether territorial incursions, the use of banned weapons or, increasingly, cyber attacks.

And part of that credibility comes from unity.

We showed that this year with a strong, united response from 28 allies to the use of chemical weapons in Salisbury. 153 Russian intelligence officials were expelled including 60 who were removed by the United States – more than any other country – and the US has since gone further by announcing sanctions. Combined with the decisive US military response to Assad’s use of chemical weapons in Douma in April – joined by Britain and France – we can see that the red lines on chemical weapon use have started to regain credibility.

And today the United Kingdom asks its allies to go further by calling on the European Union to ensure its sanctions against Russia are comprehensive, and that we truly stand shoulder to shoulder with the US. That means calling out and responding to transgressions with one voice wherever and whenever they occur, from the streets of Salisbury to the heart of Crimea.

We need to remember the importance of unity as we face, not just on this issue – whether it is halting the malign influence of Iran, ending the conflicts in Syria and Yemen, denuclearising the Korean Peninsula or fair burden-sharing within NATO, where President Trump is surely right to urge higher defence spending by European allies as Britain is doing.

Making compromises for the sake of unity will always be necessary. We should never forget Margaret Thatcher’s words: “It is in a country’s interests to keep faith with its allies. States in this sense are like people. If you have a reputation for exacting favours and not returning them, the favours dry up.”

And one of the biggest threats to European unity would be a chaotic no-deal Brexit. Britain would, of course, find a way to prosper and we have faced many greater challenges in our history. We will always be a dependable ally for the US and all countries that share our values. But the risk of a messy divorce, as opposed to the friendship we seek, would be a fissure in relations between European allies that would take a generation to heal – a geostrategic error for Europe at an extremely vulnerable time in our history. So, as I have been saying to European governments, now is the time for the European Commission to engage with an open mind with the fair and constructive proposals made by the Prime Minister.

For all of us – the United States, the EU and the UK – the strategic choices we make on these issues will have a profound impact on the solidity of our democratic and economic systems. In the face of these new challenges now is surely the time to rebuild the unity of purpose we know is essential.

2. The second response to the challenges we face will take longer – but is even more important. We need to regain the economic momentum that ultimately lies at the root of political power. Power follows money. If we want to project our values, we need competitive economies.

Professor Paul Kennedy of Yale University defined the “process of rise and fall among the Great Powers” as being the result of “differentials in growth rates and technological change, leading to shifts in the global economic balances, which in turn gradually impinge upon political and military balances.”

Britain of course knows this well. In the 19th century, thanks to the Industrial Revolution and the invention of steam-powered mass production, we eclipsed all of our rivals and became the first truly global power in history.

Of course as poorer countries develop, their share of global wealth will increase – and we should welcome that. But we also need to stay in the game. Recent improvements in US growth are encouraging, but all of us need to play to our strengths.

Free and open societies are not just the best hedge against the corruption that disfigures and constrains economic growth in so many countries. They are also the natural incubators of innovative technological advances that power modern economies. As John Stuart Mill put it: “Genius can only breathe in an atmosphere of freedom.” Of the top 10 countries in this year’s Global Innovation Index, nearly all are liberal democracies. Britain is fourth, the US comes sixth – and those 2 countries account for 19 of the world’s top 20 universities.

China’s astonishing march into AI and robotics show that our leadership in creativity and innovation is not unchallenged. We in Britain are responding with a modern industrial strategy, focused on the fourth industrial revolution and including major education reforms along with the biggest investment in rail since Victorian times. But there is much more to do and we must all prove in this new era that free, open, capitalist values are still the key to economic renewal and prosperity. Free trade is a critical too and that the United Kingdom warmly welcomes the support from the US administration for a UK/US free trade deal.

3. The final response to the challenges we face must be to get our own house in order.

Dissatisfaction with the way society works is nothing new – although social media can make it spread like wildfire. But we are putting our heads in the sand if we think we can blame social media by pretending that some of the causes of that resentment are not real – whether caused by the decline in real incomes for many Americans and Europeans, dislocation caused by changes in technology or the identity concerns of many voters caused by immigration.

To reject those concerns as being held by a minority of voters with illiberal views is to make a dangerous mistake. In Britain the 52% of our country who voted to leave the EU cannot be dismissed as far-right extremists. Nor the many who seek change in the US.

Our 2 histories share a common thread of the benefits of freedom and prosperity progressively being shared with more and more of our peoples. But if our electorates believe that such benefits are no longer being shared fairly between political elites and the people they represent, then resentment boils over. Expressing such resentment is an affirmation and not a rejection of the core democratic instinct that a society must work for all its citizens – so the sooner we address those concerns the stronger our democracies will be.

Part of that must be to address concerns about the basic functioning of our democracies. Given the importance of the online world for political communication, the rules governing online activity in the run up to elections should surely be as strict as those elsewhere – and modern electorates should be given confidence that the results cannot be influenced by the cyber activities of other countries.

At the same time, we need to restore confidence in the multilateral institutions whose job is to protect the stability of the international order and the values it depends on. No-one understood the importance of this task better than Kofi Annan, a humane and principled leader who embodied the best of the UN during his 10 years as Secretary General and whose death last Saturday we all mourn. But he would have been the first to acknowledge that all too often these institutions are seen as talking shops with little capacity to engineer real change. Given they sit at the heart of the international rules-based order the UK and US must continue to make common cause to progress bold and necessary reforms.

These are just 3 of the many possible responses to the challenges we face. But if the issues seem daunting, history also tells us that nothing is inevitable.

The progress we have made did not happen by accident – but rather as the result of extraordinary endeavour and difficult choices made at critical moments. I started with Teddy Roosevelt so let me finish with his formidable niece Eleanor who said that in working for the dignity and freedom of the human race “to stand still is to retreat”. Just as others before us, now is the time to move forward, with clarity and purpose.

Jeremy Hunt – 2018 Speech on Social Care

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, on 20 March 2018.

“Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be.”

The famously optimistic line by Robert Browning might seem out of place to many worried about how we will cope with an ageing population

In modern-day Britain, one of the most developed countries on the planet, our aspiration should be to prove those worries wrong. Because how we care for our most vulnerable citizens is the true litmus test of whether we are a civilised society – not only the care for older people but for younger disabled people who are living much longer.

Progress has been made: the Better Care Fund is transforming the way councils and the NHS work together to treat the whole person: nearly 7 in 10 service users were extremely or very satisfied with their care and support over the last 3 years, and 81% of adult social care providers are rated as good or outstanding. Spending will rise by 9% this year, the number of care home agencies is up 55% since 2010, and we recently set out a new package of measures to protect care home residents from unfair practices.

But today I want to be honest about how well we are meeting that litmus test. In truth, not well enough.

Many families find it incredibly hard to access the care they want with or without means-tested support from the state.

Many people employed in the system find themselves working too hard as they struggle with fragmented services coming under unprecedented pressure.

The CQC has itself expressed serious concerns about the state of the adult social care market and the risks of provider exit.

And that pressure is feeding through to the NHS with A&Es becoming overcrowded because hospitals find themselves unable to discharge patients who cannot access social care support packages.

Behind these systemic issues sit many ordinary human beings in a great deal of distress. Families coming to terms with a relative with dementia. Older people living on their own who won’t admit they are lonely. Care home residents with clinical depression, as we know happens in 4 in 10 cases.

So let’s be brutally honest. In a country that prides itself on kindness, neighbourliness and respect this does not sit easily, and we need to do better.

Now no-one could accuse this or any government of not talking about the issue. In the past 20 years there have been 5 Green or White Papers, numerous policy papers, and 4 independent reviews into social care. So it would not be unreasonable to expect scepticism about yet another one this year – and as the new Health and Social Care Secretary I do rather feel the weight of stalled reform programmes on my shoulders.

So in order to get things right this time I want to outline the 7 key principles that will guide our thinking ahead of the Green Paper. And in doing so I wish to pay tribute to the work done by Damian Green, my predecessor, on whose thoughtful foundations much of our thinking has developed.

1. Quality

The first key principle relates to the quality of care. 81% of adult social care providers are good or outstanding according to the CQC – testament to many hardworking and committed professionals working in care to whom we owe a huge debt of gratitude.

But still too many people experience care that is not of the quality we would all want for our own mum or dad. They describe a daily visit from a rotating cast of care workers, perhaps as brief as 15 minutes, with barely time to get help washing or getting dressed and no time to build the friendly relationships that are only possible with proper continuity of care.

And then, despite some improvements, we also still get cases of demonstrable neglect, such as a few weeks ago when a worker at a care home in Norwich was jailed for bullying vulnerable patients, including humiliating a resident with incontinence problems in front of others.

So my first of the 7 principles will be that we need a relentless and unswerving focus on providing the highest standards of care – whatever a person’s age or condition. This means a commitment to tackle poor care with minimum standards enforced throughout the system so that those using social care services are always kept safe and treated with the highest standards of dignity and compassion – or as our Chief Inspector for Social Care puts it, that all provision passes the “good enough for my mum” test.

Part of this will be tackling the unacceptable variations in quality and outcomes between different services and different parts of the country.

How can it be, for example, that, according to the NHS atlas of variation, there is around a 90-fold difference in the over 75s’ rates of admission to hospital from care homes or nursing homes between the highest and lowest performing local authority areas?

Over the last 5 years enhanced CQC inspections have been central to the journey of improvement that the NHS has been on. And thanks to the superb leadership of Andrea Sutcliffe and her team, those principles have been extended to the social care provider sector. No longer do we worry in the same way as before that abuses in a small minority of cases will go undetected for long periods and we see demonstrable improvements in the majority of cases when people are inspected a second time round.

But the recent local systems reviews conducted by the CQC have demonstrated that an independent approach to reviewing commissioning as well as provision can also be a powerful force for good. These reviews have highlighted variation in performance between local authorities across a range of measures, including how the local authority commissions care from local providers.

So we now need to ask whether the time is right to expand that approach, and one of the questions the Green Paper will pose is whether we can build on the learning from the introduction of independent Ofsted-style ratings for providers to spread best practice to commissioners as well.

2. Whole-person integrated care

Secondly we know that right now, despite many warm words, if you have complex needs our current health and social care system can be confusing and fragmented.

An 85 year old living alone with multiple conditions such as diabetes and early stage dementia often faces a bewildering range of services and organisations.

And the risk is that too often an individual and their family are passed from pillar to post, giving the same information repeatedly without receiving joined up, personalised care that makes them feel like a valued human being and not just another task on someone else’s to do list.

So my second key principle is the full integration of health and social care centred around the person. We know when this happens people stay longer at home, healthier, more independent and needing fewer hospital services.

There are many good examples of progress from around the country:

In Waltham Forest they have introduced a managed network of care and support to meet the needs of local residents through individually selected services – and seen emergency admissions reduced by a fifth during 2015/16.

In Leeds an integrated care record is now used by over 5,000 health and social care professionals so hospitals arrange faster discharges with care packages put in place more quickly.

The Better Care Fund, too, has incentivised local areas to work more closely together, and many now have mature systems in place to bring together health and care services around the needs of their older populations.

But the key to this progress is that users of the social care system should have just one plan covering all their health and social care needs based on a joint assessment by both systems. So today I can announce new pilots in Gloucestershire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire which will mean that over the next 2 years every single person accessing adult social care will be given a joint health and social care assessment and – critically – a joint health and care and support plan, where needed.

Why does this matter? Because integration must never be a bureaucratic exercise that makes life easier for professionals but makes no difference to people using the services. We will fail if we only join up the structures – we have to focus relentlessly on joining up the actual care experienced by vulnerable adults and service users on the ground – and these 3 pilots are intended to be trail-blazers for how to get this right.

3. Control

My third critical principle is control. What matters to individuals and families is the ability to direct the care they receive and autonomy to lead the lives they want.

Personalisation isn’t new, and there is a strong consensus that it is the right path to follow, but progress has often been slower for older people than for working age adults with disabilities. Whilst over 90% of older people receive some type of self-directed support, only around 1 in 6 take it as a direct payment with take-up stubbornly low for older people.

Yet we know that the greater control people have over their care, the better their outcomes and the lower the cost. I heard the story of Malcolm Royle, who had dementia, from his son Colin. His personal budget meant that Malcolm no longer had to go to the day centre 8 to 5, but could have regular carers when he needed them. He got back control of his life – and we need to help everyone do this if they have the mental and physical capacity to do so.

So I want to turbo-charge progress on integrated health and care budgets, making them the norm and not the exception when people need ongoing support.

And today I can announce that we will be consulting on Personal Health Budgets, in order to achieve better integration for those with the greatest ongoing social care needs as well as health needs.

And as part of that I commit that over the next 2 years in Gloucestershire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire – our 3 pilot areas – every single person with a joint care plan will also be offered an integrated health and care personal budget.

Control also means transparency and access to reliable information. Where individuals and families have the necessary information to make informed choices, it usually drives quality up. Yet the truth, as set out in a comprehensive report by the Competition and Markets Authority last year, is that the current social care market is anything but transparent. We also need to make sure that anyone who needs to can get the right information to make a meaningful comparison between services so that they end up with a fair and straight deal on their choice of care provider. This isn’t just fairer, it will also spur quality and innovation in the sector.

4. Workforce

My fourth principle is to respect and nurture the social care workforce.

People who work in care homes, who do home visits, who look after people with care needs with kindness and love in every street in every town – these are our society’s modern-day heroes. Often highly skilled, they are typically also the lowest paid.

I am deeply proud that the introduction of the National Living Wage means that the average salary for a care worker in the independent sector has gone up by 4%, with those on the minimum wage seeing a pay rise of up to £2,000 since 2015.

But to attract more people into this sector, financial support must be matched with recognition of the value of this vital work and action on the wider set of challenges facing the workforce.

Today is World Social Work Day. So it is right to acknowledge that as a society we have ascribed too little value to these vital caring roles: yet the quality of care our parents get in their final years is as important as the quality of education our children get at the start of their lives.

So it is time to do more to promote social care as a career of choice and to ensure there are better opportunities for progression into areas like nursing which span both the health and social care sectors. And we need coherent workforce planning that is better aligned with that now being undertaken by the NHS. Alongside social workers, occupational therapists and nurses in social care we have many care workers who could benefit or be inspired by new progression ladders similar to those that are being developed in the NHS including roles such as associate nurses and nurse degree apprenticeships. These must be as available to those working in social care as in the NHS.

We have many registered professionals including social workers, occupational therapists and nurses in social care; and many more care workers and other unregistered professions. We need to ensure we have enough people within all of these skilled roles to support people to live the best possible lives. That means making sure that the new routes in to professions that we have developed for those working in the NHS, and the new roles such as nurse associates, also work for those wanting to build their careers in social care.

We need to recognise that people move between the NHS and social care systems – and will do more so as the 2 systems join up. So part of our thinking must be to think about health and care workforce issues in a joined up way. I can therefore confirm today that later this year we will not now be publishing an ‘NHS 10 year workforce strategy’ – it will be an ‘NHS and social care 10 year workforce strategy’ with the needs of both sectors considered together and fully aligned.

5. Supporting families and carers

Ronald Reagan famously quipped that “the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see is a government programme.” A big danger in this debate is to see it purely as a government solution.

So my fifth principle is to make the needs of carers central to our new social care strategy.

Of course we need to foster the deep, innate and human responsibility we all feel to look after our loved ones, families and friends. But we should never take it for granted.

If we can make it simpler to look after a loved one, if we can make it easier to juggle working and caring responsibilities, if we can encourage volunteering – whether by more flexible working, better employer support or harnessing new technologies, then that is what we should do.

Over the past months we have been listening to the views of carers so ahead of the Green Paper we will publish an action plan to support them.

And alongside support for carers, as a society we also must tackle the epidemic of loneliness. It is truly a scandal that over 30% of people in Britain over the age of 65 say that television is their main form of company. So the appointment of Tracey Crouch as Minister for Loneliness is a welcome sign of the Prime Minister’s personal determination to address this issue, and we will work with her as we develop the Green Paper to address the underlying causes of loneliness by building an active and creative partnership between the state, individuals and wider civil society.

6. A sustainable funding model for social care supported by a diverse, vibrant and stable market.

Person-centred care means nothing if the individual’s choice and control is undermined by a lack of high-quality services to provide the support they need. Too often we hear of people unable to find the care they want, or of services which are only available in some places but just don’t exist in others.

We have to make sure that we have a vibrant and diverse base of care services for people to draw on. So the sixth principle running through our Green Paper will be the question of how we ensure a sustainable financial system for care, delivering a stable and vibrant market which delivers cost-effective, quality services for all including the debate we need to have with the public on the challenges of sourcing additional social care funding.

We should not assume that the best long term answer will be necessarily the same for different age cohorts. There may be changes that are equitable and achievable for younger people that would not be either of those for the generation approaching retirement. And part of the outcome of this process must be much greater public understanding of where the costs – often inappropriately – currently lie both for the state and individuals in every age cohort.

We also know the economics of the publicly funded social care market are highly fragile so we need to transform and evolve our models of care.

We will therefore look at how the government can prime innovation in the market, develop the evidence for new models and services, and encourage new models of care provision to expand at scale.

This will specifically include looking at the role of housing, including how we can replicate the very best models that combine a home environment with quality care and how we can better support people through well-designed aids and adaptations.

We must also recognise the potentially transformative role of new technology. We British are good at innovation, although sometimes less good at its application: so let’s see the brightest and best new ideas put into action to help us tackle the challenges we face and that will help us stay at home independently for longer.

Which is why the Ageing Grand Challenge announced as part of the Industrial Strategy needs to play a definitive role. Only last week the Government announced a new £98 million innovation fund to support healthy ageing. This funding will aim to catalyse public-private investment in technologies and innovations so that we don’t just invent great ideas here, we see them taken up throughout our system.

Going forwards, I will be working closely with other government departments, industry, civil society, academia and local government to ensure we make the most of the opportunities that the Industrial Strategy presents.

A more vibrant and diverse market offer will give people greater choice and more effective support. But it is also vital because if we do nothing to support people’s needs more creatively or efficiently, the cost of simply delivering these services today will double in a decade.

And of course we must make sure there is a long term financially sustainable approach to funding the whole system.

Resolving this will take time. But that must not be an excuse to put off necessary reforms. Nor must it delay the debate we need to have with the public about where the funding for social care in the future should come from – so the Green Paper will jump-start that debate.

7. Security for all

The final principle, which lies at the heart of this debate, is the question of security.

We are proud that 70 years ago this country made a big statement of our values when we established the National Health Service. It is, to this day, the most powerful expression of what we believe in as a society, the central idea that no-one – rich or poor, young or old – should have to worry about affording good healthcare.

But this year is also social care’s 70th birthday. The National Assistance Act that abolished the Poor Law and created many of the core elements of the modern social care system came into effect on the same day as the NHS Act.

The National Assistance Act established a related but different principle: that of shared responsibility for care. Whilst the State has always accepted – and continues to accept – its duty to provide decent care for those unable to afford it – notably for those born with a disability or developing a care and support need early in life – our system has also reflected the principle of personal responsibility for care by individuals and families.

And the principle of shared responsibility continues to be right and people should continue to expect to contribute to their care in the future as they prepare for later life – but we are clear that there has to be a partnership between the state and individuals.

But the way our current charging system operates is far from fair. This is particularly true for families faced with the randomness and unpredictability of care, and the punitive consequences that can come from developing certain conditions over others.

If you develop dementia and require long-term residential care, you are likely to have to use a significant chunk of your savings and the equity in your home to pay for that care. But if you require long-term treatment for cancer you won’t find anything like the same cost.

So people’s financial wellbeing in old age ends up defined less by their industry and service during their working lives, and more by the lottery of which illness they get. We therefore need a system that includes an element of risk-pooling and, as the Prime Minister promised in the election campaign, we will bring forward ideas as to how to do this alongside their potential costs in the Green Paper.


The Green Paper will be published before the summer and will be framed by thinking on the 7 principles that I have set out today:

quality and safety embedded in service provision

whole-person, integrated care with the NHS and social care systems operating as one

the highest possible control given to those receiving support
a valued workforce

better practical support for families and carers

a sustainable funding model for social care supported by a diverse, vibrant and stable market

greater security for all – for those born or developing a care need early in life and for those entering old age who do not know what their future care needs may be.

Innovation is going to be central to all of these principles: we will not succeed unless the changes we establish embrace the changes in technology and medicine that are profoundly reshaping our world.

By reforming the system in line with these principles everyone – whatever their age – can be confident in our care and support system. Confident that they will have control, confident that they will have quality care and confident that they will get the support they need from wider society.

Let me finish by quoting the words of Fauja Singh, who at a mere 100 years of age became the oldest person ever to complete a marathon: “Anything worth doing”, he said, “is going to be difficult.”

The path to a long-term settlement for social care, built around a strong social contract, has been equally long and arduous, and there will no doubt be further twists and turns.

But Britain has a proud pedigree in establishing one of the first comprehensive healthcare systems in the world. Our innate sense of decency, kindness and common humanity will also drive us to the right solution for social care as it has for health.

Jeremy Hunt – 2017 Speech to Conservative Party Conference

Below is the text of the speech made by Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, at the Conservative Party conference held in Manchester on 2 October 2017.

We have a great team at the Department of Health so let me start by thanking them: the wise Philip Dunne, the savvy Steve Brine, the smart James O’Shaughnessy, the street-smart Jackie Doyle-Price and our perfect PPS’s Jo Churchill and James Cartlidge.

Sometimes something happens that reminds you how lucky we are to have an NHS.

That happened right here in Manchester in May.

When that bomb went off at the Arena, we saw paramedics running into danger, doctors racing to work in the middle of the night, nurses putting their arms round families who couldn’t even recognise the disfigured bodies of their loved ones.

One doctor was actually on the scene picking up his own daughter when the bomb went off. Thankfully he found her – but instead of taking her home he quietly dropped her off with friends and went straight to work at his hospital – without telling colleagues a word about where he’d been.

It was the same heroism after the London attacks too. So let’s start by thanking all those superb NHS staff for being there when our country needed them.

Of course they’re there for us not just in national emergencies but in personal ones too.

When you’re losing a loved one, when you’re sick unexpectedly, when you’re knocked sideways by a mental health crisis – the NHS is there. A National Health Service and a national symbol of British professionalism and British compassion.

But it only exists because of its people. So today I want to recognise that supporting NHS staff is one of our most important priorities.

We need more doctors. So last year I said we’d increase the number of doctors we train by a quarter, one of the biggest ever increases.

We also need more nurses. So today I can tell you we’ll increase the number of nurses we train by 25% – that’s a permanent increase of more than 5,000 nurse training places every single year. And we’ll do that not just by increasing traditional university places, but also by tripling the number of Nursing Associates so people already in the NHS can become a registered nurse after a four year apprenticeship without having to do a traditional full time university course. Derby, Wolverhampton and Coventry Universities have already offered to run apprenticeship nursing courses on hospital and community sites and others will follow, always making sure we maintain the high standards required by the nursing regulator. We’ll also launch a new initiative to encourage nurses who have left the profession to come back.

Our NHS is nothing without its nurses: we need your skills, we need your compassion and with today’s announcement we are backing the biggest expansion of nurse training in the history of the NHS.

For nurses, as for all of us, pay and conditions matter. I’ve already said we’ll decide next year’s pay awards after listening to the independent pay review bodies. But there are other things we can do today.

Nurses look after us – but they also have their own families to look after: kids at school, a mum or dad with dementia, a partner coping with cancer.

If we’re to get the best out of them we need to be much better at supporting them with their own caring responsibilities.

They need to be able to work flexibly, do extra hours at short notice, get paid more quickly when they do and make their own choices on pension contributions. So today I’m also announcing that new flexible working arrangements will be offered to all NHS employees during this parliament. And we’ll start next year with 12 trusts piloting a new app-based flexible working offer to their staff.

And like many people, NHS staff can also struggle to find homes near work they can actually afford. So from now on when NHS land is sold, first refusal on any affordable housing built will be given to NHS employees benefitting up to 3,000 families.

And there’s one more group who are understandably a bit worried at the moment and that’s the 150,000 EU workers in the health and care system. Let me say to them this: you do a fantastic job, we want you to stay and we’re confident you will be able to stay with the same rights you have now – so you can continue being a highly valued part of our NHS and social care family.

I became Health Secretary five years ago. It’s a long time ago – but I’ll never forget my very first week.

Someone gave me the original Francis report into Mid Staffs to take home to read. I was gobsmacked. How could these terrible things really happen in our NHS?

The Chief Executive of the NHS told me I’d better get used to the fact in hospitals all over the world 10% of patients are harmed. Another senior doctor told me there were pockets of Mid Staffs-like problems everywhere. And academics told me that 3.6% of all hospital deaths were probably avoidable – that’s 150 deaths every single week – causing immense heartache to families as we heard so powerfully from Deb just now.

People like Deb – and what a privilege to listen to her this morning – made a choice.

Instead of drawing a line under their personal tragedies and moving on they chose to dedicate their lives to campaigning, reliving their sadness over and over again, just to make sure other families wouldn’t have to go through what they did.

They also made my mind up for me: my single ambition as Health Secretary would be to transform our NHS into the safest healthcare system in the world where this kind of thing never happened.

But where on earth do you start?

The first thing is to be honest about where the problems are. My kids are 3, 5 and 7 and as a Dad I know exactly how good all the local schools are – thanks to Ofsted. We had nothing like that in health – so against a lot of opposition in 2013 we became the first country in the world to introduce the Ofsted system to healthcare, giving independent ratings to every hospital, care home and GP surgery.

The results were, to say the least, a big surprise. Look at this.
14 hospitals got an ‘outstanding.’ We assumed it would be the famous teaching hospitals, but in fact it was often trusts no one had really heard of outside their area. Like Western Sussex, under the inspiring leadership of Marianne Griffiths, which has the best learning culture I have seen anywhere in the NHS. Or in mental health Northumbria Tyne and Wear which I visited on Friday and is blazing a trail on the safety of mental health patients.

Then we asked ourselves a difficult question. Is quality care just something you have to buy? Of course money matters – you need enough nurses on the wards and that costs money. But it turned out to be a more complex relationship.

All Trusts are paid the same NHS tariff. But on average the ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ trusts were in surplus and the ‘requires improvement’ and ‘inadequate’ ones were in deficit. Why’s that? Because poor care is about the most expensive care you can give. If someone has a fall and stays in hospital an extra week, it’s not just terrible for them it costs us more too.

But our biggest worry was what would happen to the trusts we put into special measures. Would they get trapped in a vicious circle of decline? 35 trusts went into special measures – nearly one in five of all NHS trusts – and so far 20 have come out. What happened?

Take Wexham Park Hospital in Slough. When they went into special measures, the CQC said their care was unsafe, 6 of their 8 clinical areas needed improving and if you asked staff the majority said they would not recommend their own care to a friend or member of their family. Think about that: the staff themselves said their own hospital’s care was not to be trusted.

Two years later under the extraordinary leadership of Sir Andrew Morris and his Frimley team things were transformed: all 8 clinical areas were good or outstanding, more than two thirds of staff started recommending their own care and the Trust became one of only 8 in the country to go straight from special measures to being rated ‘Good.’

And we learned perhaps the most important thing I have learned as Health Secretary. The staff in every Trust going into special measures were exactly the same as the staff coming out. In other words it wasn’t about the staff, it was all about the leadership.

We also learned that you can’t impose quality or safety from above – it has to be part of a culture that comes from the bottom up. And that starts with openness and transparency.

Let me show you that works.

After Mid Staffs we were worried about staffing levels on wards. But rather than a top-down edict telling Trusts to recruit more staff, we did something simpler. We just asked every trust to publish every month the number of nurses employed in each of their wards. What was the impact?

This is the total number of adult nurses employed in the NHS. And you can see in the first two years from 2010 they went down by just under 5,000. Then we introduced ward by ward transparency and what happened? The blue line is the number of nurses Trusts planned to recruit. The green line is what they actually recruited. In other words once we started being transparent about nurse numbers the NHS ended up with 18,000 more nurses than it planned.

And the public noticed – inpatient satisfaction over this period rose to record highs.

We also introduced transparency in areas like mental health, our major priority under Theresa May’s leadership. We are leading probably the biggest expansion of mental health in Europe right now. But progress across the country has been patchy – so we are using transparency to make sure that wherever you live mental health conditions are always treated as seriously as physical health conditions.

So by shining a light on problems, transparency saves lives. But it also saves money.

Every time someone gets an infection during a hip operation it can cost £100,000 to put right. So under the leadership of Professor Tim Briggs we started collecting data on infection rates across the country. What did Tim find? He found that our best hospitals infect one in 500 patients. But our least good ones it is as many as one in 25 patients.

Putting that right is now saving hundreds of millions of pounds as well as reducing untold human misery. So never let it be said you can’t afford safe care – it’s unsafe care that breaks the bank.

Now what’s been the overall impact of this focus on safety and quality? We all know the pressure the NHS is under. But despite that the proportion of patients being harmed has fallen by 8% and 200 fewer patients harmed every single day.

Staff are happier than ever with the quality of their care and the proportion of the public who agree their NHS care is good is up 13%.

This July an independent American think tank, the Commonwealth Fund, said the NHS was the best – and safest – healthcare system in the world. That’s better than America, better than France, better than Germany and most importantly ahead of the Ashes better than Australia.

But – and there is a ‘but’ – we still have those 150 avoidable deaths every week.

Twice a week somewhere in the NHS we leave a foreign object in someone’s body.

Three times a week we operate on the wrong part of someone’s body.

Four times a week a claim is made for a baby born brain damaged.

We may be the safest in the world – but what that really means is that healthcare everywhere needs to change.

In America Johns Hopkins University says medical error causes 250,000 deaths a year – the third biggest killer after cancer and heart disease. Conference I want the NHS to blaze a trail across the world in sorting that out.

So we have big campaigns right now to tackle e-Coli infections, reduce maternity harm, make sure we learn from every avoidable death and most of all keep our patients safe over winter.

But we need to do something else too: and that’s get much better at supporting doctors and nurses when they make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes – but only doctors and nurses have been brave enough to choose a career where the price of those mistakes can sometimes be a tragedy.

And when that happens no one is more devastated, no one keener to learn and improve than those same frontline staff.

But we often make that impossible. They worry about litigation, the GMC, the NMC, the CQC, even being fired by their trust. Unless we support staff to learn from mistakes we just condemn ourselves to repeat them – and that means dismantling the NHS blame culture and replacing it with a learning culture. The world’s largest healthcare organisation must become the world’s largest learning organisation – and it’s my job and my mission to make that happen.

Now next year the NHS has an important birthday. Like Prince Charles and Lulu it will turn 70.

Here are the words of the Health Minister who announced its formation back in 1944.

Nye Bevan deserves credit for founding the NHS in 1948. But that wasn’t him or indeed any Labour minister.

That was the Conservative Health Minister in 1944, Sir Henry Willink, whose white paper announced the setting up of the NHS.

He did it with cross-party support. And for me that’s what the NHS should always be: not a political football, not a weapon to win votes but there for all of us with support from all of us.

So conference when Labour question our commitment to the NHS, as they did in Brighton, just tell them that no party has a monopoly on compassion.

It’s not a Labour Health Service or a Conservative Health Service but a National Health Service that we built and are building together – as I’ve said many times.

And the next time they question our record, tell them we’ve given our NHS more doctors, more nurses and more funding than ever before in its history.

Tell them when they left office the NHS wasn’t even rated the best in Europe, let alone best in the world as it has been twice on our watch.

And most of all tell them that if they’re really worried about the NHS being destroyed, then there’s one thing they can do: ditch Corbyn and McDonnell’s disastrous economic policies which would bankrupt our economy and bring our NHS to its knees.

Because the economic facts of life are not suspended for the NHS: world-class public services need a world-class economy and to ignore that is not to support our doctors and nurses, it’s to betray them.

However unlike Labour we don’t make the mistake of saying the challenges facing the NHS are only about money.

If they were, we wouldn’t have had Mid Staffs, Morecambe Bay and all those other tragedies that happened during bumper increases in funding.

As Conservatives we know that quality of care matters as much as quantity of money.

So when we battle to improve the safety and quality of care we are making the NHS stronger not weaker.

And we’re reinforcing those founding values of the NHS we just heard, namely that every single older person, every single family, every single child in our country matters – and we want all of them to be treated with the same standards of care and compassion that we’d want for our own mum or dad or son or daughter.

That, conference, is why we’re backing our NHS to become the safest, highest quality healthcare system in the world and we will deliver the safest, highest quality healthcare system in the world. Thank you.