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Melissa Crawshay-Williams explains what the Conservative Foreign & Commonwealth Council does and believes in.

The purpose of the Conservative Foreign & Commonwealth Council is
to promote greater understanding among different countries and cultures
in a safe, just and prosperous world.

We meet monthly during term-times with a speaker: normally an
Ambassador, academic or politician.  We have a talk of around 20 minutes
followed by a discussion time.  We offer refreshments before and after
the talk. Our website carries forward dates and
information of our events and reports on our speakers.  Our membership
is diverse with people of all ages.   

The highlight of the year is no doubt the Annual Summer Diplomatic
Party hosted by our Chairman, Sir Ronald Halstead at his home, when a
high proportion of the diplomatic corps turn out;  even when the
weather is appalling as it was at the last one in July.

Our members are very friendly and knowledgeable and they regard it a pleasure to attend a meeting.  There is a recognition of the importance of foreign relations and foreign affairs and – this is by no means a requirement of membership – many have lived abroad or have strong foreign connections;.   Full members must be members of a Conservative Association if not they are associate members.  Our charge for speaker meetings covers meeting costs.  The annual membership of only £10 per year includes free entry to the Diplomatic Reception that is outstandingly good value. 

We are closely aligned to Foreign Office aims and priorities including:

  • Making the world safer from global terrorism and weapons of mass destruction
  • Reducing the harm to the UK from international crime, including drug trafficking,  people smuggling and money laundering
  • Preventing and resolving conflict through a strong international system
  • Building an effective and globally competitive EU in a secure neighbourhood
  • Supporting the UK economy and business through an open and expanding global economy, science and innovation and secure energy supplies
  • Achieving climate security by promoting a faster transition to a sustainable, low carbon global economy.
  • Promoting sustainable development and poverty reduction underpinned by human rights, democracy, good governance and protection of the environment
  • Managing migration and trying to combat illegal immigration
  • Delivering high-quality support for British nationals abroad, in normal times and in crises
  • Ensuring the security and good governance of the UK’s Overseas Territories

The UK does not shy away from trying to resolve international crises and its foreign policy is less ‘inward-looking’ than it has been so far.  The UK should press the EU in this direction, to put a higher priority on its foreign relations the UK must continue to intervene in international crises.

UK foreign policy must recognise the growing interdependency of countries across the world and the ‘reality’ of this world is that the UK cannot ‘opt out’.

Looking to the future – our Chairman is bold about inviting Ambassadors from a range of countries to come and address us.    Overall – we are open to suggestions from our members – we look to invite anyone willing to share something meaningful about their country and customs with us for an evening of stimulating discussion.

Join us and find out more, we look forward to hearing from you.

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