Impact & Benefits

  • PM Thatcher's 1984 letter thanking BGIPU for the Gorbachev visit
  • PM Thatcher noted the importance of this visit when opening the 100th Anniversary IPU Conference in 1989
  • Mr and Mrs Gorbachev with BGIPU Chair and members at Palace of Westminster

The British Group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (BGIPU) aims to serve Britain’s interests through advancing the Parliamentary dimension of Britain’s foreign relations.  All members of both Houses of the UK Parliament are members of the BGIPU eligible to participate in its activities.

I like Mr Gorbachev. We can do business together.” Margaret Thatcher 1984.

Can the BGIPU really have an impact in global affairs?

The BGIPU has a proud track record in contributing to advancing Britain’s foreign relations. One of the most prominent examples involves pivotal events leading up to the end of the Cold War.

It was as a result of a BGIPU inward delegation to the UK headed by an up-and-coming member of the Soviet parliament in late 1984, that Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said, “I like Mr Gorbachev. We can do business together.” History shows this assessment was highly influential in encouraging a re-think of Western perceptions of the Soviet leadership, particularly within the Reagan Administration, shifting crucial dynamics in a process which eventually contributed to the end of the Cold War. This truly historic visit had been at the direct initiative of then BGIPU Chair, Peter Temple-Morris MP. 

The former UK Prime Minister, Rt Hon Margaret Thatcher MP, wrote to thank BGIPU for hosting Mr Gorbachev shortly after the visit but subsequently, reflecting on the state of UK-Soviet relations in 1987, told the the House of Commons that this visit was very significant in establishing a basis for the UK to have an open dialogue with the future leader of the Soviet Union.


Benefits of being an active member of BGIPU

  • Expand your understanding of global issues in a time of complex geo-political shifts, particularly on multilateralism and maintain cross-cutting issues like climate change, conflict prevention and human rights on parliamentarians’ agenda
  • Advance the key role that parliaments play in international affairs through the IPU
  • Promote parliamentary capacity building and bolster democratic norms and institutions
  • Encourage sustainable development and economic growth through aid effectiveness and global trade
  • Participate in specialist international IPU conferences in the UK and abroad
  • Support inward parliamentary visits to promote best practice in parliamentary processes and a better understanding of Britain’s interests
  • Join outward delegations to advance Britain’s bilateral interests with international counterparts
  • Represent the British Group at IPU Assemblies and other international meetings
  • Seek election to the Executive Committee to guide BGIPU operations

Membership Detail

Any member of either House is deemed to be a full Member of the BGIPU. To register your interest in participating in BGIPU activities please click here.

Any former Member of Parliament who has been a member of the Group for more than three years as well as any servant of Parliament who has given distinguished service to the Group, may become an Associate Member of the Group. To become an associate Member of the Group please contact the Secretariat

The BGIPU Secretariat advertise the activities of the Group in the All Party Notice and the Parliamentary Intranet. If you have any queries about membership or involvement, please contact the Secretariat