VietnamHas Britain given up on foreign affairs? Many say ‘We don’t have an Empire anymore’; or that ‘We are not a rich country.’ That has been said since Indian independence in 1947, or perhaps since our economic fragility was laid bare at the end of the First World War. Some ask ‘What right have we got to tell others how to live their lives?’ That question has been gathered momentum since the 1960s. Some ask ‘What business is it of mine?’ That attitude has been going on since the Old Testament.

Meanwhile, the balance of power is shifting to the people, quickly. Parliament blocked government action on Syria. In 2017 there will probably be a referendum over our membership of the European Union. There is disquiet over our aid programmes. Some diplomats find all this worrying. They fear it is a sign that populism or domestic priorities are undermining Britain’s place in the world. They worry that people don’t know about the complexities of foreign affairs and don’t care. They are wrong.

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Politics: A Dozen Small Things

Written for the Cumberland & Westmorland Herald, Publ. Dec 1st 2017 When I lived outside Britain, I felt that the greatest problem in Britain was injustice. Once I became a ‘parliamentary candidate’ I began to feel that the problem was that government was completely out of touch with reality on the ground, and that the […]

Border Country

Optimism in Politics – Herald Column Saturday 8th July 2017

The United Kingdom has never been so well-educated. The number of people going to university in Britain has exploded from three per cent in the 1950s to almost fifty per cent today. Our citizens have never been so well-informed about our politicians and their policies. And lobby groups have never been so relentlessly practical – […]

Border Country


Penrith and The Border MP and DEFRA Minister Rory Stewart has set out an optimistic vision for the future of environmental legislation outside of the EU, in a debate in the main chamber of the House of Commons on the implications of the EU Referendum result on energy and environmental legislation. The Minister for Rural […]

Border Country

Statement on Brexit

Britain must now make the best of Brexit. The decision is made, and we should be energetic and optimistic. ‎We need to remind people that this is still the same Britain, that the things about Britain that we fundamentally enjoy, remain the same. I personally believe that we need to invest now more than ever […]

Border Country


My decision on the Syria vote was strongly influenced by my personal experiences and work in Bosnia, in Kosovo, in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Balkans showed me how important an international intervention can be in protecting civilians. Iraq and Afghanistan showed how much uncertainty and ignorance and risk we face in intervention. There are risks […]

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Iraq: Coalition Against ISIL

Written Transcript: Rory Stewart (Penrith and The Border, Conservative) Members of the House have laid out, with enormous ingenuity, the complexity of this situation; we have heard about everything from Turkey almost to Turkmenistan. In the end, however, this is a relatively simple motion and we should support the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister […]