Congratulations to Angela Rayner on her election as Deputy Leader of the Labour Party. We reproduce below her response to Labour CND’s lobby for a Minister for Peace and Disarmament:
Thank you very much for getting in touch with me about the post of Shadow Minister for Peace and Disarmament and the other manifesto policies. My Shadow Cabinet colleague Fabian Hamilton has done a great job as Shadow Minister for Peace and Disarmament and I absolutely believe that there should be a front bench spokesperson with specific responsibility for disarmament.
I can also confirm that I continue to support the commitments made in the “New Internationalism” section of the 2019 Manifesto and would want to maintain those commitments. I want a world without nuclear weapons and that’s what I want a Labour government to work towards. When the last Tory government tabled their motion to renew Trident in the House of Commons, I voted against it.
Of course, I don’t want to do to workers in shipyards and the supply chain what Thatcher did to pit towns, so any change would need to be underpinned by a plan for replacing those jobs with other skilled, well paid and unionised jobs. I would much rather we invest billions in low carbon, sustainable infrastructure, creating jobs, and building a future for our economy in exporting the means to save lives, not take them – the new, green technologies of the future. I have also made contributions during the hustings on arms sales that you might find interesting, you can watch that here.
Any candidate for Prime Minister who by contrast relishes
the thought of unleashing death and destruction isn’t fit for the office. I’d
rather work towards reducing the nuclear stockpile across the world because
that’s the one thing that would make us all safer. We need an international
commitment to disarmament and cooperation; the Tories have dismally failed to
provide such leadership and the next Labour government must provide it.
Labour CND is delighted to see that the Front Bench post of Shadow Minister for Peace and Disarmament is to be retained under the new leadership, and will continue to be ably filled by Fabian Hamilton MP. Fabian will be working with colleagues in the Shadow Foreign and Commonwealth Office team, including Catherine West, another committed nuclear disarmamer and Vice President of London Region CND. Congratulations both.
Labour’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office team, led by Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy, comprises Wayne David (Ministter for Middle East and North Africa) Stephen Doughty (Africa, jointly with DFID) Stephen Kinnock (Asia and Pacific) Catherine West (Europe & Americas) and Fabian Hamilton (Peace and Disarmament). It is not yet known if Fabian’s post has the same brief before, which also ranges across policy areas within the defence team.
Thanks to everyone who participated in Labour CND’s online lobby in support of the Minister of Peace post.
Co-Founder of Declassified UK Mark Curtis takes a look at how the Mininstry of Defence is planning to spend hundreds of billions on expensive military projects while our under-funded health service struggles to address the coronavirus.
Successive National Security Risk Assessments commissioned by the UK government have identified pandemics one of the top threats to Britain’s safety. Then why wasn’t the government prepared for Covid 19? And why are we spending £205 billion on replacing Trident when the NHS is struggling to survive? Read CND’s blogg and let your MP know just what you think government priorities should be.
Our2020 annual conference and AGM is postponed for now. We’ll be setting a new date once the present crisis is over. Meanwhile, we’ll be exploring online ways of meeting and campaigning, investigating the possibility of a virtual AGM, and keeping contact with our supporters via regular LabCND E-News.
Pictured left with Scottish CND Chair and Labour Party member Arthur West and right at Leeds University, Francis Daehoon Lee toured the UK in May representing People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, a south Korean NGO which he helped found in 1994. In London, Scotland and Yorkshire he had the same clear message for everyone he met: the peace process on the Korean Peninsula must continue.
Francis held meetings with Shadow Peace and Disarmament
Minister Fabian Hamilton and Shadow International Defence Minister Alex Norris in
Westminster and a cross-party group of Scottish parliamentarians in Edinburgh, briefing
them on the Trump-Kim talks. He met academics, students and activists for a
round-table discussion at Leeds University (pictured right) and joined local
activists for a demonstration at the gates of Menwith Hill spy base. Former
Labour MEP Glyn Ford, author of Talking
to North Korea: ending the nuclear standoff joined Francis on the platform
of a public meeting in London.
Speaking in a debate on European security and the future of the INF Treaty, MEP and Labour CND Co-Chair Julie Ward said:
‘The INF Treaty occupies a special place in peace history – in our history. It was prompted by the huge nuclear disarmament movements that swept across Europe and the USA in the 1980s. In some respects, the peace movement owns this treaty, and we must do what we can to ensure it is not taken away.’
To remind us why CND is needed, Trump chose the weekend of the CND annual conference to announce his intention to tear up the 1987 The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which removed the threat of nuclear war in Europe by eliminating short- and medium- range ballistic and ground-launched cruise missiles.
A resolution from Labour CND together with Yorkshire and London CND was passed with acclaim at CND’s annual policy conference – committing CND to promote trade union and trades council affiliations and encourage relationships between CND groups and trade unions. Bristol CND who hosted the weekend did us proud – providing a beautiful building to meet in and a terrific open meeting focused on the centenary of World War I armistice.