Parliament Matters

The Foreign Affairs Committee: commentator or influencer?

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Episode notes

In this revealing conversation with Alicia Kearns MP, Chair of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, we explore the critical role of parliamentary scrutiny in shaping foreign policy and addressing global challenges.

We discover how recent Committee hearings have garnered global attention and influenced diplomatic discourse in overseas capitals and on the streets, particularly when critical information, such as the bombing of Medical Aid for Palestine, has been revealed.

Alicia reflects on the Committee’s priorities and ongoing inquiries, and the need to respond dynamically to pressing global issues such as Ukraine, Russia, the Balkans, China and Taiwan.

She sheds light on how the Committee can help change the tone of diplomatic engagement and how it plays a critical information disclosure role. And she updates us on her discussions with the Foreign Secretary, Lord Cameron, regarding the frequency of his appearances before the Committee.

We explore her role as the Chair of the Committee including her regular interactions with ambassadors, the challenges faced during sensitive inquiries, and why the Foreign Office would rather she and fellow members of the Committee did not travel anywhere! 

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Parliament Matters is a Hansard Society production supported by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust

Producer: Richard Townsend

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