Following the near-week long suspension of campaigning in light of the terror attack in Manchester on 22nd May, canvasing ahead of next week’s poll resumed in earnest last Friday. The narrative of campaigning, and the renewed prominence of national security, foreign and defence policy, has reflected the enormity of that tragic event. The Prime Minister has sort to reinforce her message that the Conservatives are the party strong on defence and security, while Jeremy Corbyn has argued that in addition to strengthening defences, a changed narrative in foreign policy is required. The Oxford Research Group this week this week published its view on the increased security narrative around the election in light of the 22nd May attack.
RUSI hosted their pre-election defence debate on 22nd May, with a panel featuring representatives from each of the major parties, including the Minister for Defence Procurement, Harriett Baldwin and the Shadow Defence Secretary, Nia Griffiths. The need for an immediate Defence Review and positions on Trident renewal were inevitably high on the agenda. A summary and review was published by RUSI on Tuesday.
Fall-out from President Trump's challenging first meeting with NATO Heads-of-State in Brussels on 25th May continued into this week. Despite moderating his stance towards an Organisation previously dismissed by him as obsolete, the President nevertheless denounced Europe's low defence spending and appeared to suggest that the principle of collective self-defence might be conditional. This, allied to the President’s call for NATO to refocus on illegal immigration, led the European press this week to suggest fundamental differences are emerging among member states about the direction and purpose of the Organisation.