December 03, 2019

Britain Could Be A Force For Peace – If It Leads By Example
Britain should be a force for peace.But a decade of reckless Conservative government has been bad for peace and Britain’s role in a world Labour has always believed should be marked by global cooperation.In 2015 the veil dropped on the Tories’ real priorities when the most senior civil servant at the Foreign Office revealed – with classic British understatement – that human rights are “not one of the top priorities” for the government.The reality of what this means couldn’t have been made clearer than when the courts took the rare step this year of ruling that ongoing UK arms sale to Saudi Arabia are illegal. British weapons sales to Saudi Arabia since it began its war in Yemen are worth £4.7 billion. Civilians in Yemen have paid with their lives. By selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, the Tories have shirked Britain’s duty to help create a more just and peaceful world. Instead, they want to sing from Donald Trump’s hymn sheet. Labour does take peace seriously. A Labour government will mean the birth of a new internationalism, one in which human rights, international law and climate change are put first.Labour will be the first British government in history to have a Minister for Peace and Disarmament. More importantly, we will put in place the policies that ensure that this change is far more than skin-deep.We must be bold and lead by example if we are to establish a more peaceful world. Our manifesto is clear in stating that a Labour government will bring in a War Powers Act. This means the end of the failed “bomb first, talk later” approach: never again will a government be able to wage war without explicit parliamentary approval. This vital policy shift of course comes off the back of the lessons we learned from Iraq. For the Conservatives, these lessons have not informed a new approach - but Labour will implement every single recommendation of the Chilcot Inquiry into Britain’s role in the devastation of the Iraq war, which left half a million dead.Building on some of the work done by the late Labour Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, Labour will champion peacekeeping by investing £100 million more in UN peacekeeping operations so Britain can cooperate with our partners around the world to be a real force for good.A raft of new challenges have arisen since Robin Cook was Foreign Secretary, but Labour stands ready to tackle them. Of course, climate change stands at the forefront of these life-threatening challenges, and we know that its impacts will cut across all we do.That’s why Labour’s new internationalism will mean investing £400 million into diplomatic capacity, but specifically to promote peace, deliver ambitious global climate agreements and works through international organisations to secure political settlements to critical issues.Crucially, our diplomacy will ensure Britain properly tackles the climate emergency by working in cooperation with our partners around the world: with the United Nations, European Union, G7, G20, World Bank, the Commonwealth and the other global institutions that are so important to national, regional and international stability.Of course, at the heart of this engagement, and our approach to climate change, is our unshakable dedication to human rights.Human rights that will not only play a crucial part in a Labour government’s foreign policy, but will also drive our trade policy. This means joining our European partners in fully implementing arms export controls to countries like Saudi Arabia where they might be used in violation of human rights or international law, and rejecting any trade agreements that undermine workers’ rights or environmental standards.These are man-made humanitarian disasters and we, alongside our international partners, must take concerted action to stop such wanton destruction of life from occurring time and time again. We have been clear that we want to see a “world for the many”. This election is a once in a generation opportunity not only to change the course of British history, but also to reshape the whole world for the better.Labour’s vital and popular commitment to conduct an audit of the impact of Britain’s colonial legacy will help us learn important lessons on how we have contributed to violence and instability in former British colonies.As the world’s fifth richest country, one with a bitter legacy of colonialism but also admired and listened to by many, we must use our precious influence to prevent conflict, save lives, and protect human rights.Labour has always championed peace, justice and human rights – and in government we will bring the real change we need that means the UK will never shirk from making sure these principles are at the heart of a world for the many.Fabian Hamiton is Labour parliamentary candidate for Leeds North East and shadow minister for peace and disarmament.Related... 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