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We must not let these calls fall on deaf ears: Labour MEPs backing a mandatory law on conflict minerals

28 April 2015

By Linda McAvan, Labour MEP for Yorkshire and The Humber and Chair of the European Parliament’s International Development Committee

A visit to the Panzi hospital in Bukavu, Eastern Congo, is a journey into hope and despair in equal measure.  The hospital is run by Dr Denis Mukwege, a gynaecologist specialising in treating the victims of sexual violence in this conflict-ridden region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the biggest country in Central Africa. DRC is a country with huge mineral wealth, but one which lies at the bottom of the Human Development Index – 187 out of 187.

Linda McAvan at Panzi hospitalDr Mukwege is a truly extraordinary man who not only treats the victims, but speaks out against the perpetrators, and has survived two attempts on his life since he received the Sakharov Prize for Human Rights from the European Parliament last November. His hospital is now protected by UN troops and he himself is largely confined to the hospital grounds for his own safety.  The motto of the hospital is Dire La Verité – Speak the Truth – and the estimated 45,000 victims treated there over the last two decades, women and children, some as young as six months old, are given not just medical treatment, but psychological support and  encouragement to speak out to bring the perpetrators to justice. When we met some of them at the hospital, they pleaded with us to protect Dr Mukwege and support efforts to stabilise the region.

Congolese countrysideThe violence in Eastern Congo largely stems from instability linked to one of the worst atrocities of modern times: the Rwandan genocide of 1994.  After the slaughter of an estimated 800,000 Tutsis, over a million Hutus fled over the border into Eastern Congo, fearing reprisals as the Tutsi-led army moved in to take over the country.  In the years that followed some returned home to Rwanda and took part in reconciliation efforts, but others remained as armed gangs, living off the proceeds of illegal mineral mining.  It is these armed gangs and the soldiers and police sent to fight them who carry out most of the rapes. And it is these same “conflict minerals” that all too often find their way into our mobile phones and other electronic devices.

FishermanThe aim of our trip was therefore twofold: to support Dr Mukwege and his work, and to build support for a new EU law to regulate conflict minerals by banning these illegal minerals from the EU market. A draft law is currently before the European Parliament and ministers from the EU’s 28 countries. But the draft is weak, only requiring voluntary measures by industry.  Labour MEPs and our allies want a mandatory law. Our Tory-led government is opposing the mandatory approach and last week, in a major blow, Tories joined UKIP MEPs and others on the right to block tougher measures at the committee stage of the law.

Labour MEPs and our allies will now re-table amendments in the hope that the full parliament will back them at a vote in May. Dr Mukwege has now written to all MEPs urging them to back tough, mandatory rules. Similar letters have come from Bishops, human rights organisations and other NGOs.  Having seen what we saw in Bukavu, we must not let these calls fall on deaf ears.


Grassroots organisations and members of the public can help in the campaign by writing to MEPs ahead of the vote on May 18th and after the election, contacting ministers and MPs.  Only a mandatory law, making the minerals traceable, will ensure that the minerals no longer fuel conflict and there can be space for real development in the DRC and elsewhere.


“We are an internationalist party. We are a party founded on a belief in equality. And these great causes of internationalism and equality come together in 2015.”

26 April 2015


Speech by Labour’s next Prime Minister’s Ed Miliband for Labour’s Development Day:

Thank you.

I’d like to thank Ross Kemp for hosting us today.

And I’d like to thank everyone who has been part of today’s gathering.

Let me thank all of the speakers who are with us today, Mary Creagh, Valerie Amos, Emily Berrington, and Adjoa Andou.

Let me start today by saying that all of our thoughts are with the people of Nepal.

We have seen truly appalling scenes as a result of this earthquake.

We now know thousands have lost their lives and we know British nationals have been caught up in this tragedy.

We must ensure that all international efforts support Nepal during this desperate time.

All of Britain will today be sending our thoughts and sympathies to the people of Nepal.

We will stand by you.

The world will come together.

We will do everything in our power to help you in your hour of need.

Now today I want to talk to you about the great causes of our time that today’s event is about.

We are an internationalist party.

We have always been an internationalist party.

We are a party that believes in the importance of equality.

We are a party founded on a belief in equality.

And these great causes of internationalism and equality come together in 2015.

2015 is a crucial year because of our general election.

And 2015 is also the year when we must reaffirm our determination and our fight to build a better world.

And today I renew our Party’s commitment.

To reduce inequality.

To fight poverty.

Because it is the right thing to do.

Because it is in Britain’s national interest that we build a better, stronger, safer world for everyone

And because it defines who we are as a country.

And I want to talk to you about the once in a generation opportunity that 2015 gives us, and the difference a Labour government will make.

I grew up in the 1980s.

The era of Live Aid.

The era when international development seemed a forgotten subject.

The era when if you had said Britain would become a country that was going to be a world leader on development, people would have said it wouldn’t happen.

But it has happened.

It happened because of a Labour government.

But here is the truth, it didn’t just happen because of that government, it happened because of all of you.

The people who campaigned, who demanded who would not take No for an answer.

It is your efforts that made it possible.

And there is no greater sign of success than the fact that spending 0.7% of our national income on aid is now enshrined in the law of land.

Now some people will tell you that this aid isn’t well spent, that it can’t make a difference.

All of us have a responsibility to show why that is not the case.

UK aid helped drive us towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals.

And as a result, today, 17,000 fewer children die every day.

More people than ever have access to clean drinking water.

We have begun to reverse the spread of Aids.

Nine out of ten children in developing regions attend primary school.

That’s 58 million more children in education than 15 year’s ago.

The Millennium Development Goals have shown how we have made a difference.

How we can make a difference.

How we will make a difference.

The world came together, worked together, and has saved lives together.

Let us applaud that work.

And let us tell all of those parties including UKIP, who threaten this aid, that we are proud of what we have done.

Not as a matter of charity but as a matter of justice.

We are proud to be a country honouring our responsibilities to the world’s poorest countries.

But because we are the Labour Party, we focus not on the work already done, but the work we still have to do.

6.6 million children under the age of 5 each year die from preventable causes.

31 million girls do not attend primary school.

A billion people suffer each year because they cannot obtain the health services they need.

And more than a billion people still live in extreme poverty in our world.

These are the facts about our unequal, unjust, unfair world.

But these facts are not immutable or immovable.

They can be changed.

The Millennium Development Goals showed it.

And we have a responsibility to ensure that the new Sustainable Development Goals can show it too.

But only with leadership.

In just five months’ time we have a unique opportunity to make a difference again; when the world comes together at the UN General Assembly in September.

And we must seize the opportunity with the power of example and urge other countries to step up to the plate and commit to 0.7%.

The benchmark of whether you are doing your bit.

And we must seize the opportunity by arguing for universal health coverage not just here but around the world.

I promise you this: with a Labour government, we will protect and defend our National Health Service.

And we will also establish a new centre for universal health coverage, bringing the insights and expertise of our NHS to bear in helping the world’s poorest people have access to healthcare.

We will champion the values of the NHS all around the world.

And we will recognise the importance of economic development, companies playing their part in building a better world.

So we will engage with the private sector, supporting best business practice both at home and abroad.

And friends that means the right practices in relation to tax.

Let us tell the truth: tax avoidance is not just wrong, it is ruinous for the world’s poorest countries.

When companies exploit natural resources and don’t pay their fair share, it deprives developing countries of the revenues they need for healthcare, education and public services.

It deprives them of the very chance of development that is so often urged upon them.

So we will champion the fight against tax avoidance at home and abroad.

No hiding place in the tax havens, no loopholes in the tax system.

And we won’t any longer tolerate a situation where the richest countries obtain information about who the tax avoiders are but don’t share it with the poorest.

This too is a basic matter of justice.

And we will also work with companies to ensure they have sustainable supply chains, free from slavery.

And that they treat their workers fairly and pay taxes where they are due.

Decent wages.

Rights at work.


This is an agenda where the next Labour government will build an alliance with business and the private sector, so many of whom recognise the importance of doing all of these things.

All these things matter.

And a central part of our campaign must be the fight against inequality.

We see today that nearly half the world’s wealth is owned by just one per cent of the population.

Inequality scars our society, and it scars our planet.

It doesn’t just make some of us poorer, it makes us all poorer.

So I will put the struggle against inequality at the heart of the settlement we make in September.

And 2015 is not just a moment when we must act to tackle global poverty and inequalities, but where we must act on climate change.

Nothing matters more to the generation that is just growing up than protecting our environment.

If we do not tackle climate change, millions of people will fall back into poverty.

Because we know that climate change hits the poorest hardest.

Let me tell you: I won’t be the kind of politician who puts a wind turbine on my roof and then calls for a moratorium on wind turbines.

I care about climate change not just because it was once fashionable, but because it matters to the future of our world.

And with each year that goes by, the evidence grows stronger not weaker.

Here too, we will lead by example.

The last Labour government was the first government in the world to set binding targets in law for reducing emissions.

The next Labour government will be one of the first in the world to take the carbon out of our electricity by 2030.

And leading by example we will urge the world to act.

Let me tell you what we must achieve in Paris at the crucial talks this year.

A plan based on the scientific evidence.

Preventing warming of more than 2 degrees.

Maximum ambition.

And a plan to make it possible for the world’s poorest countries to grow in a sustainable way.

I will do whatever it takes, to get this deal.

And in climate change and in international development, it is about political leaders and the job we do.

The summits later this year are vital to ensuring the world moves together.

But it is also about something else.

It is about you.

In the end, don’t believe the idea that it is political leaders who change the county, or change the world.

It is movements and people that really change the world.

Just look at the great changes we have seen throughout history: they would never have happened without a movement.

History shows us that real change comes only when there is public pressure and political will.

That means you in this room.

So I am asking you to stand with me, I am asking you to fight with me, I am asking you to be the movement that helps build change in our world.

To end global poverty and inequality.

To fight for health and education.

To tackle climate change.

And to make it happen, let me say this to you finally.

It will only happen if you make it happen by making a Labour government possible in the next 11 days.

By knocking on doors, by going out and campaigning, and by telling people how we can change things.

As a movement, we have always fought against the odds.

And that is true of this election.

And we know what it means, we keep fighting till the very end.

Till 10pm on May 7th.

We have 11 days to elect a Labour government.

And 11 days to change our country.

Let’s make it happen.

Ed Miliband speech on Foreign Policy at Chatham House

24 April 2015

Ed Miliband, Leader of the Labour Party, in a speech at Chatham House said:

It is a great privilege to be here today.
Chatham House has always led the way in shaping new thinking on Britain’s place in the world.
So with the general election less than two weeks away now, there is no better place to come to set out my case.
On how I will seek to reshape our great country’s relationship with our allies and partners.
And how Britain can play its part in overcoming the great global challenges that we now face.
My argument to you today is a simple but important one.

The next Labour government will stand up for Britain and ensure that our country takes a strong and confident place on the world stage.
It is time to reject the small-minded isolationism that has characterised this government.
It is an approach that has shrunk our influence and weakened Britain.
We need a government that is outward looking, not inward looking.

Optimistic about our role, not pessimistic.
But just as we should learn from the mistakes of this government, so too we should learn from our past too.
Including the 2003 Iraq War.
Recognising that we are always stronger, more effective and have more authority when we work with allies across the world and seek to strengthen not weaken multilateral institutions.
Standing up for Britain.
Speaking out for Britain.
And using Britain’s influence in cooperation with others.

That will be the essence of the foreign policy of the government I lead.
And that is the approach I want to lay out for you today.

I know my first responsibility as Prime Minister would be to keep our country safe.
Because the threats we face are real.
Here at home and abroad.
From nuclear proliferation.

To Russia and Ukraine.
To the changing balance of power between East and West.
To the on-going national security challenge that is climate change.
To the terrible and heart-breaking scenes we have witnessed in the Mediterranean this week.
And these challenges reflect powerful global trends that any government – Labour or Conservative – must now confront.
Forces that shape the world in which we all live.
Let me describe three of them.
The first concerns the very complexity of the global challenges that confront us.
The threats we face now are not generally the old threat from single states.
They cross borders and boundaries.
And they are more complex than the deeply dangerous but more traditional inter-state rivalry of the past.
It is true of the dangers of ISIL, motivated by an evil ideology that recognises no borders.
It is true of the mass migration caused by conflicts that stretch across entire regions, especially in North Africa and across the Middle East.
And it is true of climate change, which threatens the future of everyone, no matter where they live.
This means that they can’t effectively be confronted by any single state.
Not the United States.

Not China.

Not the UK.
No country on their own.
But they can only possibly be tackled by concerted action by countries all round the world.
And it is not just the complexity and trans-national nature of the challenges we face that matters.
The second trend means that we confront them at a time when so many of the institutions that we have relied on in the past find themselves under strain.
From the EU to the UN, the multilateral institutions that were crafted after the Second World War face more serious pressure than they have known before.

Both from outside their institutions and from within.
With their reputation undermined by the challenge of a series of global crises to which they appear not to have been able properly to respond.
From Iraq more than a decade ago, to Syria today to the continued stalemate in the search for peace between Israel and the Palestinian people.
As well as the continued belligerence of states that seek to undermine the international order that these institutions are designed to uphold.
And a third trend makes this more difficult still.

For we live now at a time not only when international institutions are losing support but when individual states themselves also find it harder to act.
So many countries round the world are faced by serious budgetary constraints in the aftermath of the financial crisis.
Meaning that their capacity and willingness to respond internationally has been dimmed.
And others are undermined by deep and persistent struggles within their own population.
With rightful demands for greater democracy, greater accountability and greater equality destabilising old orders, without always leading straightforwardly to stable reform.
So in two weeks’ time any government will be facing the same challenges.

Threats which cross boundaries.
International institutions under strain.
States in all parts of the world facing difficulties of their own.
These global trends are unavoidable.
But the crucial truth we must acknowledge is that the difficulties Britain faces in navigating this new global order are made far worse because of decisions being made by our government.
David Cameron has presided over the biggest loss of influence for our country in a generation.
And that has happened because the government he leads has stepped away from the world, rather than confidently towards it.
It is an approach that has shrunk our influence and weakened Britain.
And the evidence for that is all around us.
Take the situation of Russia and Ukraine.
Was there ever a more apt symbol of Britain’s isolation and waning influence than when David Cameron was absent as the leaders of Germany and France tried to negotiate peace with President Putin?
And we have seen it this week with regard to the crisis unfolding in the Mediterranean.
In Libya, Labour supported military action to avoid the slaughter the Qaddafi regime threatened in Benghazi.
But since the action, the failure of post conflict planning has become obvious.
David Cameron was wrong to assume that Libya was a country whose institutions could simply be left to evolve and transform themselves.
What we have seen in Libya is that when tensions over power and resource began to emerge, they simply reinforced deep seated ideological and ethnic fault lines in the country, meaning the hopes of the revolutionary uprisings quickly began to unravel.
The tragedy is this could have been anticipated.
It should have been avoided.
And Britain could have played its part in ensuring the international community stood by the people of Libya in practice rather than standing behind the unfounded hopes of potential progress only in principle.
And by far the most important cause of our loss of influence is the position of the government in regard to the European Union.
With the threat of an in/out referendum on an arbitrary timetable, no clear goals for their proposed European renegotiation, no strategy for achieving it and a governing party riven with internal divisions over our future in the EU.
Including a Foreign Secretary who has openly advocated leaving the European Union.
All this poses a grave risk to Britain’s positon in the world.

Of course, the European Union needs to change.
There are demands for it to change in almost every member state.

On immigration, on benefits, on the rights of national parliaments.
And Britain should be leading the process of reform.
But this government’s approach to Europe means that even when Britain’s interests are shared by other member states, EU leaders are reluctant to support us because they think we already have one foot out of the door.
And our loss of influence in Europe leads to a further loss of influence in the world.

From the United States to China.

We are stronger as a leading partner in the EU.
And we are weaker when we are not.
One of the many mistakes of Euro-scepticism is to believe that we are somehow more influential with others if we depart the EU when the opposite is true.
It is precisely our influence within the EU which makes us more influential in the world.
And of course, none of this had to be the case.
David Cameron has pursued his strategy not because of any great political principle or ideal.
In fact, the irony is that he says he believes in staying in the EU.
He has done it because he has been pushed there by political forces in his own party and by his fear of other political parties in our country.
It is the rise of Conservative euroscepticism and UKIP that has led him to this position.
He has taken us to the edge of European exit because he has been too weak to control his own party.

And too anxious about the rise of UKIP.

A rise he should have challenged but pandered to instead.
And these problems have worsened dramatically in the last few weeks.
Because worried about losing power, the Conservatives are now trying to do everything they can to talk up the prospects of the SNP and pit English nationalism against Scottish nationalism.
Let me be clear: this is incredibly dangerous for our country.
We shouldn’t be turning one part of the UK against another.

We should be standing up for the whole of the UK.
We shouldn’t be sweeping away what binds us together in favour of emphasising what drives us apart.
Or trying to obscure the real issue of the election-the kind of country we want to be, both at home and abroad.
I believe the real task for Britain is not to divide between one nation and another but to build a United Kingdom that works for all.
Because that is a country that can then be more confident in the world.
And Labour is proud and confident as to what our country can achieve in the world.
We are and will continue to be one of the most capable global powers.
We have the world’s fifth largest defence budget, the second largest aid budget and the fourth largest diplomatic network in the world.
And we have the skills and the people able to deliver for Britain in the years ahead.
Our military personnel who have served us so bravely in the conflicts of the last decade.
Diplomats around the world who are some of the best and brightest men and women serving any country.
And the unparalleled reach and impact of the BBC World Service and our other journalists.
With such talent and reach there is no reason Britain should shrink from the world.
So the goal of my government will be to ensure Britain is unified at home and strong and confident and outward looking in the world.
But to do that we need to re-engage.
To be willing to play our part both to secure our interests and pursue our values.
And we need to do so in the right way.
And as we seek to re-engage in this way we need to learn the key lessons both of this government and of the government that went before.
In particular learning the lessons of 2003 Iraq war.

There are a number of lessons:
For when military action is appropriate, for how we work through multilateral institutions and with regional partners and in ensuring there is always a plan for peace. 
And these are some of the reasons I opposed the proposed intervention in Syria in 2013.
So we need to begin working with our allies and partners in the community of nations once again in a genuine and hard-headed multilateralism because that is what the times demand.
What the world needs now is an organised and sustained solidarity between like-minded nations.
Seeking to uphold international law.

That was the way we rebuilt after the Second World War: through NATO, the European Union, the ECHR.
Securing peace and promoting democratic values together.
And that is what is at stake today.
Labour was proud to play a crucial part in shaping that order in the past as we emerged from the Second World War.
The Labour government that I lead will always seek to do that in the future.
So what does this vision mean in practice?
What would be the concrete priorities of an incoming Labour government as we seek to restore Britain’s relationship with the world?
There are, of course, many.

We must maintain our independent nuclear capability, with a continuous at sea deterrent.
We must work within the EU to help resolve the immediate crisis in the Mediterranean.
We must step up our efforts to help bring about the two state solution in Israel and Palestine that is desperately needed.
A secure Israel alongside a viable and independent state of Palestine.
This is, after all, a conflict that scars the region and the world and there can be no true stability in our world without its resolution.
These are crucial issues but let me outline three central tasks for you today in a little more detail.
First, our mission will start by restoring our commitment to international institutions.
The UN, NATO, the Commonwealth, and, of course, the European Union.
As I have explained, all of these institutions have faced serious challenges of late.
We will rebuild our influence.
That starts with the European Union.
I want a clear message to be sent to our European partners that an incoming Labour government will be serious about leading once again in Europe and serious also about reforming Europe.
We have said that in the unlikely event of a transfer of powers from Britain to the EU in the next Parliament, we will have an in/out referendum.
But we are sure that Britain’s future lies inside not outside a reformed EU.
We will never put our national interest at risk by threatening to leave.
And we want to get on with the business of reforming Europe in a way that helps Britain and the EU as a whole.
We will charge all of our European Ambassadors with the pursuit of this clear European reform strategy.
We also need to look beyond the EU.
And that includes our commitment to NATO.
NATO is and must remain the foundation of our defence and security partnership and we will work tirelessly to ensure its greater effectiveness.
Western unity and resolve are essential, as we have seen in the face of Russian aggression in the Ukraine.
NATO needs to send the signals of deterrence required to prevent the line of confrontation being moved further west.
And that includes signals from across the alliance that even when times are hard at home we remain committed to our armed forces.
I am not going to set out a spending review today.
Indeed it is crucial that we complete our Strategic Defence and Security Review well before long term spending decisions are taken to ensure we avoid the mistakes of the poorly conceived SDSR of 2010.‎
But I want to be absolutely clear that amongst the reasons we reject the extreme spending cuts that the Conservative Party propose is that they would be truly catastrophic for the future of our armed forces.
The Institute of Fiscal Studies set out yesterday that they would mean at least 18% budget reductions for departments like the MOD – significantly more than the cut to Defence in this parliament.‎
Promises of protection for specific parts of the defence budget are meaningless in that world.
They simply will not be delivered.
That is why the prospect of these Conservative cuts alarms our allies abroad and our military personnel here at home.
Even Conservative politicians with defence expertise recognise the dangers of what is planned.
I am not going to pretend that there won’t be difficult choices in the years ahead as we deal with the deficit.
And I will not repeat David Cameron’s mistake of making promises before an election, in his case of a larger army, only to break them in government.
But we simply will not take the extreme approach our opponents propose.
I am not going to sacrifice the defence of our country on an ideological commitment to a significantly smaller state.
Indeed we are in the unprecedented situation going into this election.
It is now Labour that is much better positioned to find the resources that our armed forces need to maintain our security in the next Parliament.
So, first, we will recommit our country to the international partnerships that make it strong and that allow us to respond to the challenges we face.
Second, we will reconsider the place of military intervention in the way that we respond to the world’s problems.
Today, we face failed states and civil wars across the entire wider Middle East region – from the western Sahel through to Somalia and Sudan, from Yemen to Syria and Iraq, and in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Many share key elements: weak and corrupt states lacking legitimacy, the growing influence of Islamist extremists, inter-state rivalry, and limited progress towards democracy.
And all this matters for the UK.
These conflicts are already spilling over into Europe through terrorism, growing illegal migration, organised crime – and all these will worsen if the conflicts intensify.
So we must respond at home and abroad.
We must do all we can to protect our borders, investing in capable intelligence and security services.
We must update the law surrounding internet communications, including with proper oversight.
And ensure robust controls to prevent people travelling to take part in the Syrian conflict and to ensure those returning are properly managed.
And we must respond by building partnerships abroad.
The challenge posed by ISIL’s barbarism is the most pressing case.
Following a request from the Iraqi Prime Minister, it was right that the UK joined other nations in air strikes against ISIL targets in Iraq.
But military action alone will not defeat ISIL.
A long-term multinational political strategy, with regional actors playing a central role, is essential to tackle the rise of extremism across the region.
And as we do so we will learn the lessons of previous interventions.
Not seeking to solve the world’s problems on our own but working with international, regional and local partners.
Any intervention must be carried out with a clearly defined strategy.
And this must include a comprehensive transition and post conflict strategy.
These are the vital lessons of our recent past and I will not forget them.
Third, we will put reducing inequality, tackling climate change and promoting human rights at the core of our agenda.
Not just because that is the right thing to do.

But because it is vital for the long-term interests of our country.
Labour will proudly lead the world in maintaining our commitment to giving 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income towards international development.
And when it comes to climate change, we will help set ambitious emissions targets for all countries, reviewed every five years, based on a scientific assessment of the progress towards the 2 degree centigrade goal.
We will set a goal of net zero global emissions in the second half of this century.
Have transparent, universal rules for measuring, verifying and reporting emissions with all countries adopting climate change adaptation plans.
And ensure an equitable deal in which richer countries provide support to poorer nations in their efforts to combat climate change.
None of this will happen by itself.
It will take concerted action by countries all across the world.
And require Britain to play the kind of role that I was privileged to shape at the Copenhagen summit during the last government.
The UN summit in Paris later this year will be our chance to demonstrate again how this can work.
And show what Britain can achieve.
And our commitment to universal human rights will also be at the heart of our foreign policy across the world.
We will appoint Lord Michael Cashman as our International LGBT Rights Envoy, to help work towards the decriminalisation of homosexuality worldwide.
And we will appoint a Global Envoy for Religious Freedom, and establish a multi-faith advisory council on religious freedom within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Our country faces a big choice in just under two weeks’ time.
It is a choice between different ideas about how our country succeeds here at home.
But it is also a choice about our country’s place in the world.
The Conservative view threatens to divide us internally and to weaken our position abroad.
A pessimistic isolationism.

That learns the wrong lessons from our past.

And undermines our nation’s future.
Or a Labour view.

That says we are stronger as a country when we look boldly, confidently outward to the world.

Not turning in on ourselves or acting on our own.
But working with our allies, never for them.
A genuine and hard-headed multilateralism.
With our values at its core.

That’s how Britain can succeed.

That’s how Britain will make a difference.

I look forward to doing it together.

Development Doorstep 2 – This Saturday in Harrow!

21 April 2015

LCID believes poverty is political, and that only the Labour Party has the values and record of delivery to deliver for people in poverty, wherever they live.

The last Labour Government helped transform millions of lives for the better, and at LCID we are committed to doing all we can to return a Labour Government to power again in this election.

So in this election we have been focusing particular attention on Labour PPCs in marginal seats, who we know are champions of international development. These events have already had a great impact, offering LCID supporters the opportunity to meet and show their support for Labour candidates, and having some great conversations with potential voters across the UK!

There are opportunities to campaign in person, or by phone banking.

The Election Countdown – chances to get involved before the election

1) #DevelopmentDoorstep 2 THIS SATURDAY – for Gareth Thomas, LCID Honorary Vice-President and former DFID Minister in Harrow West, and Uma Kumaran, Harrow East


When:  Saturday 25th April , meeting at 11.00

Where: 132 Blenheim Road, Harrow, HA2 7AA (get the Metropolitan tube to West Harrow). We’ll be campaigning in Harrow East in the afternoon. Email if you can make it!


2) Phonebanking for Melanie Ward, LCID Advisory Board member and PPC for Glenrothes & Central Fife


When: Wednesday 22 April, 6pm-8pm

Where: 65 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6AS (next door to Labour Party HQ)

RSVP: contact Steven at to let him know you’re coming!


3) #DevelopmentDoorstep 3 – 2nd and 3rd May – Time and location tbc!


Our campaigning so far

  • On 28th March, LCID ran our first #DevelopmentDoorstep Day for Neil Coyle in Bermondsey and Old Southwark and Tulip Siddiq in Hampstead and Kilburn.



  • Campaigning for Alison McGovern, LCID Honorary Vice-President, weekend of 11th and 12th April

At every door… #LabourDoorstep #DevelopmentDoorstep #VoteLabour #LabourCID #Labour

A photo posted by LCID (@labourcid) on


#DevelopmentDoorstep campaigning for our Vice President Alison McGovern in Wirral #VoteLabour

A photo posted by LCID (@labourcid) on


  • Phonebanking for Melanie Ward, LCID Advisory Board member and PPC for Glenrothes & Central Fife, Thursday 9th April and Thursday 16 April

Phonebanking for Melanie Ward, who is standing in Glenrothes and is on LCID's Advisory Board

A photo posted by LCID (@labourcid) on


  •  On the #DevelopmentDoorstep for Daniel Zeichner with Cambridge University Labour Club, on Monday 20th April


  •  Canvassing for Will Martindale, candidate for Battersea and a former Oxfam advisor, Tuesday 7th April

Campaigning for Will Martindale in Battersea, a former Oxfam advisor

A photo posted by LCID (@labourcid) on


  •  Canvassing for Claire Leigh, LCID’s former Chair, in Tonbridge & Malling, Saturday 14th March

On the #LabourDoorstep in #Tonbridge with former #LabourCID chair Claire Leigh #DevelopmentDoorstep

A photo posted by LCID (@labourcid) on


The stark choice on international development at this election

20 April 2015

First published by Left Foot Forward, 16 April, 2015

By Laura Kyrke-Smith, vice chair of the Labour Campaign for International Development

In the last five years international cooperation has stalled, and the world’s poorest people are paying the price.

International issues are never going to be the biggest vote winners. But as Labour’s manifesto makes clear, we cannot overlook the scale of the international challenge that awaits the next government.

We are facing some of the trickiest foreign policy issues of our time, from a resurgent Russia stoking conflict on the borders of Europe, to a wave of extremist violence across the Middle East. It is the most important year for international development in a decade, with major summits on the Sustainable Development Goals and how we finance them, and a long-awaited opportunity to reach a global agreement on climate change.

And whether it is UK nationals fighting in Syria, the number of migrants to the UK rising, or our weather patterns getting more unpredictable, it is clearer than ever that we cannot separate what happens abroad from our own future in Britain.

Yet in the last five years, international cooperation has stalled in some cases and been thrown into reverse in others. The poorest people in the world are paying the price and so is Britain.

In their manifesto, the Conservatives say they delivered on their commitment to enshrine on 0.7 per cent of GNI on aid, but this law only passed as a private members bill after they couldn’t be bothered to table it themselves, and did their best to wreck it at every stage of its passage through parliament. It was down to Labour MPs and Peers to ensure the bill was passed, with more Labour MPs voting for it then all the other parties combined.

The Conservatives promise further efforts to prevent climate change and help the poorest populations adapt. But the last five years have proven that their promise to be the ‘greenest government ever’ meant nothing. Carbon emissions have gone up, David Cameron only recently talked of ‘cutting the green crap’, and he doesn’t mention the climate at all in meetings with world leaders.

The Conservatives say they will push for new global goals to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. If this was really the case, Cameron would have shown up to the meetings of the UN High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Having landed the prestigious chair role, he gave the meetings a miss and instead focused his efforts at the UN on getting jobs for his mates.

And when the Conservatives declare in their manifesto that they’ll try and reshape OECD rules on what counts as aid to reflect the importance of ‘stability’ – how can we trust that this isn’t another attempt to divert aid towards military spending?

Labour is a party with internationalism in our DNA.  Between 1997 and 2010, the Labour government played a leading role in global foreign and defence policymaking and revolutionised the debate about international development. We created a world-leading development department, secured debt cancellation and prioritised human rights and climate change alongside economic growth.

If Labour gets back into power, Britain can be a progressive powerhouse once again.

When Labour says in our manifesto that we will push for an ambitious target in of net zero global emissions by the second half of this century, at the climate change summit in December, we mean it. Tony Blair and Gordon Brown worked tirelessly as chairs of the G8, G20 and Commission for Africa, as did Ed Miliband at the Copenhagen climate change summit in 2009.

When Labour says we will work with other countries at this year’s Sustainable Development Goals Summit to unite the world to eradicate extreme poverty, tackle inequality and climate change, we mean it.

And when Labour says we will promote human rights, increase efforts in fragile and conflict-affected states, and reshape the UN humanitarian system to save more lives, we mean it.

Labour’s vision of internationalism is one rooted in our values. We believe that policies at home and abroad should be about fair shares and reducing inequality. While the Conservatives threaten to leave the EU and further reduce our global influence, Labour believes fundamentally in the value of international cooperation and multilateralism, through the EU and our global institutions.

As Ed Miliband has said:

“More than ever Britain and the world need leadership on tackling poverty, inequality and climate change. This is about ensuring the next generation can do better than the last in this country and around the world.”

A vote for Labour at this election will be a crucial first step towards rebuilding Britain’s place at the heart of a more equal, more sustainable world.


Vote 2015 – The Choice on International Development

8 April 2015


Ed Miliband answer to Cosmopolitan magazine’s quiz question


The choice in this election on international development is clear – between electing a Labour government to continue our tradition of helping the world’s poorest people…and a Conservative government whose pledges to voters do not contain a single mention of international development. And worse,their most likely coalition partners, UKIP, want to abolish DFID and the aid budget by £9bn a year.


Leading in the World – Labour’s manifesto pledges

Labour is an internationalist party and believes Britain must engage with the global challenges we face, but not try and solve them on our own. We believe the Conservatives are damaging the interests of our country by turning their backs on Europe, and isolating us abroad. We will strengthen our national security, stand up for human rights, and work with other countries to tackle terrorism, climate change, and eliminate extreme poverty globally. Download Labour’s manifesto here.


International development

We are proud that Labour MPs passed the historic law that commits Britain to spend 0.7 per cent of our gross national income on international development. Labour will use that commitment from the British public to transform the lives of the world’s poorest people, whilst ensuring value for taxpayers’ money. We will work in fragile and conflict-affected states to improve the lives of those affected by violence, prioritising the protection and education of women and children. We will rebalance the budget to focus funding on the world’s poorest countries.

While progress has been made towards the Millennium Development Goals, it is unacceptable that over a billion people still live on less than $1.25 a day. We will work with other countries at this year’s Sustainable Development Goals Summit to unite the world to eradicate extreme poverty, tackle growing economic inequality, and place human rights at the heart of development.

We will establish a Centre for Universal Health Coverage to provide the support, encouragement, and global partnerships needed to help countries provide free healthcare. We will lead efforts to reshape the UN humanitarian system to better equip it to save lives.

The private sector is essential to long-term development, and is often a positive force for change. We will extend the sharing of tax information to developing countries, increase DFID’s help to governments to collect more of their own taxes, tackle corruption, and ensure good governance. We will work with companies to ensure they have sustainable supply chains that are free from slavery, treat their workers fairly, and pay taxes where they are due.


Climate change

We will put climate change at the heart of our foreign policy. As the terrible impact of the floods in Britain showed last year, climate change is now an issue of national, as well as global security. From record droughts in California, to devastating typhoons in the Philippines, the world is already seeing the effects we once thought only future generations would experience.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has made clear that if the world is going to hold warming below two degrees (the internationally agreed goal), global emissions need to peak in around 2020, and then decline rapidly to reach net zero emissions by the second half of this century. The weaker the action now, the more rapid and costly the reductions will need to be later.

The effects of climate change hit the poor, the hardest. If we do not tackle climate change, millions of people will fall into poverty. We will expand the role of the Department of International Development to mitigate the risks of a changing climate, and support sustainable livelihoods for the world’s poorest people.

We want an ambitious agreement on climate change at the UNFCCC conference in Paris, in December. We will make the case for ambitious emissions targets for all countries, strengthened every five years on the basis of a scientific assessment of the progress towards the below two degree goal. And we will push for a goal of net zero global emissions in the second half of this century, for transparent and universal rules for measuring, verifying and reporting emissions, and for an equitable deal in which richer countries provide support to poorer nations in combating climate change.


Human Rights

A commitment to universal human rights will be at the heart of our foreign policy across the world. We will continue to promote women’s rights. We will join with those campaigning to attain gender equality, the eradication of poverty and inclusive economic growth. We will appoint a Global Envoy for Religious Freedom, and establish a multi-faith advisory council on religious freedom within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. And we will appoint an International LGBT Rights Envoy to promote respect for the human rights of LGBT people, and work towards the decriminalisation of homosexuality worldwide.


The Middle East

Peace and security in the Middle East are one of Labour’s most important foreign policy objectives.

Palestine – We remain committed to a comprehensive two-state solution – a secure Israel alongside a viable and independent state of Palestine. There can be no military solution to this conflict and all sides must avoid taking action that would make peace harder to achieve. Labour will continue to press for an immediate return to meaningful negotiations leading to a diplomatic resolution.

ISIL’s barbarism and expansionist ideology, alongside terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and Al-Shabaab, represent a particular threat to global security. Following a request from the Iraqi Prime Minister, it was right that the UK joined other nations in air strikes against ISIL targets in Iraq. But military action alone will not defeat ISIL. A long-term multinational political strategy, with regional actors playing a central role, is essential for tackling the rise of extremism across the region.


The Conservative’s record on international development

In their manifesto, the Conservatives say they delivered on their commitment to enshrine on 0.7% of GNI on aid, but this law only passed as a private members bill after they couldn’t be bothered to table it themselves, and did their best to wreck it at every stage of its passage through Parliament. It was down to Labour MPs and Peers to ensure the bill was passed, with more Labour MPs voting for it then all the other parties combined.

The Conservatives promise further efforts to prevent climate change and help the poorest populations adapt. But the last five years have proven that their promise to be the “greenest government ever” meant nothing. Carbon emissions have gone up, David Cameron only recently talked of “cutting the green cr*p”, and he doesn’t mention the climate at all in meetings with world leaders.

The Conservatives say they will push for new global goals to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. If this was really the case, Cameron would have shown up to the meetings of the UN High Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Having landed the prestigious chair role, he gave the meetings a miss and instead focused his efforts at the UN on getting jobs for his mates.

And when the Conservatives declare in their manifesto that they’ll try and reshape OECD rules on what counts as aid to reflect the importance of ‘stability’ – how can we trust that this isn’t another attempt to  divert aid towards military spending?


UKIP – the Tories most likely coalition partners

UKIP will cut the foreign aid budget by £9bn per year – with a much-reduced aid budget administered by the Foreign Office, with DFID scrapped as an independent department with a Cabinet minister. Read more here.


Go Green – Vote Labour

Labour has a record to be proud of and a hopeful, ambitious and achievable vision on international development and climate change. That is reason enough to vote Labour over the Green Party or SNP. But if you live in a marginal it is also the only way to ensure the Tories and UKIP do not get in.


Vote Labour

1. The deadline for registering to vote on May 7th is April 20th – register to vote here.

2. Pledge to vote Labour and get involved Labour’s campaign here.

3. Join the Labour Campaign for International Development and help us ensure international development remains high on the political agenda and at the heart of Labour’s programme for government.

I leave this House feeling a huge amount of gratitude, but also with some concern – Gordon Brown’s valedictory speech in full

7 April 2015

I ask this House to remember that our greatest successes as a country have come not when we have been divided nor when we have turned inwards, but when we have confidently looked outwards and thought globally, our eyes fixed on the wider world and the future.

With the unwinding of the Pax Americana, and in the wake of the recent retreat from global cooperation – for today we have no global climate change treaty, no global financial standards and for the first time in half a century no world trade agreement – we must recapture what now seems a distant memory – the heightened global coordination of 2009 which Britain led – and never allow ourselves to become spectators or watchers on the shore, when the world needs us, in Europe and beyond, to lead and champion global action to deal with poverty, pollution, proliferation and protectionism – and to defuse what is potentially the biggest global flashpoint: the growing anger of millions of disenfranchised young people in the poorest countries at the unacceptable denial of the basic opportunities they deserve and demand. And so it is right and it is a tribute to all here that two of the last Acts of this Parliament are new laws on aid and slavery, guaranteeing the British people’s long term support to the most vulnerable in the world.



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