The United Kingdom general election has been widely considered to be the most unpredictable in recent memory; with many expecting another coalition government, that could realistically contain several different permutations – promising an unsettled political landscape for the coming months. The Conservative party’s majority victory – surprising at it is – has settled the question of who will form the government and by extension, the local polices that can be expected in this term. What this election means for UK’s foreign policy is much more difficult to say.

The prime reason behind this is that almost all parties pointedly ignored foreign policy issues in their campaign; choosing instead to campaign on local issues. The stances are tacked in at the end of their manifestos – page 74 for the Labour party and 75 for the Conservative – and do not contain a clear and defined policy objective, with the exception of the Green Party and the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP). Despite this lack of emphasis, there seems to be a general consensus among the parties that the UK must regulate foreign military deployments and limit projection of hard power. Within that consensus though, a Conservative victory means that the UK will see a rise in its defence spending to see it fulfil NATO obligations and the Trident nuclear deterrent programme would not only stay, but will be upgraded.    

Yet these remain minute changes compared to the seismic shifts UK’s foreign presence will face. Firstly, David Cameroon’s election all but ensures the UK will vote on an in/out referendum on European Union (EU) membership within the next two years. The related issues on migration policy, human rights and economic integration will be decided along with this. Secondly, the clear dominance of the Scottish National Party (SNP) in Scotland, where it won 56 of the available 59 seats, will put the fate of the Union in doubt. Despite failure in the independence referendum, SNP has campaigned on the same lines, and David Cameroon will face the hard task of keeping the UK together as a single entity.