Page last updated at 18:06 GMT, Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Foreign Affairs Committee


The status of the "special relationship" between the US and the UK has been called into question during a lengthy evidence session by the Foreign Affairs Committee on 2 December 2009.

Nick Witney from the European Council on Foreign Relations told the committee that the UK doesn't have the political advantage in relations with the USA that it sometimes thinks it has.

He said that the US government feel they know the world well enough without feeling the need to constantly consult with Europe, including with Britain.

The BBC's Justin Webb, and Stryker McGuire from Newsweek magazine admitted that the notion of a "special relationship" is not very noticeable in the USA, with Mr Webb telling the committee that there was very little coverage of British politics in the US media, compared with coverage of US politics in the British media.

Stryker McGuire highlighted the fact that Barack Obama made very few references to Great Britain in his inaugural address, apart from mentioning the defeat of British forces by George Washington.

Finally the committee heard from Sir Jeremy Greenstock, the former UK representative to the United Nations, and Sir David Manning, the former British ambassador in Washington DC.

They both told the committee that politicians in Britain tended to overhype the special relationship, using it more as a publicity tool than a political device.


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