Former Prime Minister John Major praises One Direction as good for British diplomacy

Politician says the international success of UK musicians lends Britain a "soft power"

Former Prime Minister John Major has cited One Direction and Adele’s international success as being important for British diplomacy.

Major explained how the worldwide fame of UK artists, as well as TV shows such as Downton Abbey lend Britain a “soft power” while speaking at a House of Lords Committee on the subject, BBC News reports.

“We’ve had over 20 British albums top the charts in countries around the world. It’s not just the established stars like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones,” he said.

“You have Adele, One Direction, Susan Boyle. Wherever you go, they’re household names and they have an implication for perception and thus soft power. That is a background that few countries can match in terms of profile and that is important for our diplomacy.”

Major continued: “Because people see and think about Britain, because of these elements of soft power, and because of our history, there is… a greater tendency to trust the British in diplomacy.”

Earlier this week One Direction were revealed to be the most successful X Factor act by Amazon. The boyband are the best-selling act to appear on the TV talent contest in terms of sales on both the US and UK Amazon sites, finishing ahead of Olly Murs and JLS.