The Prime Minister's Lord Mayor's Speech

16 November 2016

The Lord Mayor’s speech is an annual event in the Prime Minister’s diary, an opportunity to address foreign policy and how the UK is meeting global challenges.

This was one of a handful of times that we have heard Theresa May discuss foreign policy. Here Ali our Political Adviser provides a update on some of the top lines to come out of the speech.

Liberalisation and globalisation

In the wake of the Trump election the Prime Minister warned that liberalisation and globalisation had left too many people behind, however she stressed that they had also helped people out of poverty and brought nations together.

The Prime Minister was careful to say that we must still make the case for liberalisation and globalisation, she stressed that ‘it is incumbent on those of us in positions of leadership to respond: to make sense of the changing world around us and to shape a new approach that preserves the best of what works, and evolves and adapts what does not.

Free trade and free markets

The Prime Minister echoed previous statements that the UK must be a global advocate for free trade and free markets. She argued that the UK must set their own rules, be flexible and create new and dynamic trade deals.

She stressed that the benefits of free trade and free markets must be shared by all, and that every nation must feel the benefit.

As I argued at my first G20 summit earlier this year, we need every nation – developed and developing – to ensure that the benefits of trade are fairly shared. This will not just be good for them; it will enhance our own prosperity too. And it will be fundamental in maintaining global support for the free trade and open markets that we believe in.’

Britain’s soft power

In the conclusion of the speech the Prime Minister addressed several issues; she reaffirmed the UK’s commitment to 2% of GDP on defence spending and 0.7% of GNI on overseas aid. She confirmed that the UK will be ‘driving forward implementation of the Sustainable Development goals to eradicate absolute poverty by the end of the next decade.

She pointed to supporting Nigeria in the fight against Boko Haram; and reinforced the UK’s commitment to peacekeeping forces in South Sudan, Somalia and Kosovo.

She stressed that Britain that is ‘leading the way in pioneering international efforts to crack down on modern slavery wherever it is found.’

She ended her speech by saying ‘that together, we can rise to this moment and seize this great global opportunity of our time, to provide the leadership that will ensure the prosperity of your businesses, the success of our country, and the future of the world we want to leave for our children.

So let us seize the moment. And let us do so together.’

About the author

Ali Louis headshot

Bond's public affairs and government relations manager, Ali has previously worked for Unicef UK and in parliament. She has an MA in International Politics and Development from Newcastle University.