Dear Members and Friends,

In 1866 Liberal politician Joseph Chamberlain is recorded as having said: ‘In politics, there is no use in looking beyond the next fortnight.’ In 2017 that has been reduced to a mere week.

The Economic and Political Update from Andrew Hilton (sent to you on a Monday) should be an entertaining missive and is eagerly anticipated. 

For now, my thoughts. The resignation of Secretaries of State for Defence and International Development will be important for many of you. Both sectors are well represented in membership and, although successors have now been appointed, it will take a while to gather momentum and get back to business as usual. Although the cynics amongst you may wonder what ‘business as usual’ 2017 actually is. 

Member of Parliament Priti Patel’s ‘resignation’ leaves a vacuum in the decision making process and is likely to impact some members, as project approvals and sign offs may be delayed. Following an unsettled year, this will add further turbulence. 


On a more positive note, it was interesting to note in her resignation letter a specific mention on her commitment to continue campaigning for new investments in infrastructure and services which will present opportunities for some of our members in this sector. We believe her commendation of DFID staff and their work is also a reflection and recognition of the excellent contribution our members make to UK’s international development work, which aims to end extreme poverty.

We look forward to working with newly appointed new Secretary of State for International Development, Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt, who joined us for lunch during the summer and led a lively discussion on improving the health and mobility of the UK workforce. It's all about sleep by the way.


The new Secretary of State for Defence, Rt Hon Gavin Williamson, is a rather unknown quantity from a defence perspective. However as the former Chief Whip, he clearly has the aptitude, attitude and black book to succeed in his new role and take up the baton. With a number of key decisions looming large on the horizon, whether that’s the fallout from proposed Armed Forces cuts, navigating the upcoming Capability Review or plugging a significant funding whole, he will need to be on his metal and pull on all of his network to keep us on track.   

Recognising Penny Mordaunt’s reservist connections, I am reminded of the traditional Naval Toast “A bloody war or a sickly season!” Which rather sums up this week in politics. 

Back at base in Grafton Street, we continue to support and engage with you all. Please check the calendar for details of all forthcoming events. 


Best wishes to all.


Tracey Smith - Deputy Chair, Strategy International


Event highlights:

Tuesday 14th November – D Group Lunch
What we need from and can offer business
Ben Houchen, Mayor, Tees-Valley

 Thursday 23rd November – Middle-East Access Group
Ambassadorial Lunch – Ambassador for the Arab Republic of Egypt
HE Mr Nasser Kamel, Ambassador for the Republic of Egypt

Wednesday 29th November – D Group Dinner
Inside the social media revolution: what business leaders need to know
Elizabeth Linder, Founder & CEO, The Conversational Century