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A Labour Approach to Development – LCID’s manifesto for 2017

8 May 2017

We’d like to share with our supporters LCID’s submission to the Labour Party’s 2017 manifesto. Building on our 2015 manifesto, and our campaigning on aid and Syria and the Responsibility to Protect, below are the our policies we would like included in Labour’s manifesto:

Aid

  • Labour should maintain our global leadership position on aid, spending 0.7% of GNI on eradicating extreme poverty and delivering our life-saving support through an independent Department for International Development.
  • Labour should support poor countries to build their public health and education systems, increasing budget sector support to pre-2010 levels.[1]

Responsibility to Protect

  • Labour should pursue an ethical foreign policy, including upholding the 2005 UN Responsibility to Protect Civilians agreement,[2] and the Arms Trade Treaty.[3]
  • Labour should push for a comprehensive strategy to protect civilians strategy to protect civilians in Syria, help Syrians to establish a democratic, free and socially just country. In the short term, an internationally-led no-fly zone should be set up in Idlib province as soon as possible to prevent further civilian deaths.[4]

Trade Post-Brexit

  • Labour should offer a non-reciprocal preference scheme for imports from economically vulnerable countries immediately upon Britain’s exit of the EU.

Tax

  • Labour will review all UK tax policies to ensure they do not undermine global agreements, are fair to poor countries, and consistent with the UK’s development objectives.
  • Labour will push for public country-by-country reporting of tax information by multinational companies within 2 years, either multilaterally, or if that fails, unilaterally.

A whole Government approach

  • Labour will ensure a coherent and comprehensive UK Government approach to eradicating poverty and protecting human rights, by ensuring all relevant policies – on tax, climate, energy, trade, immigration, defence, foreign policy alliances and growth – are ‘pro-development’.[5]

Notes

[1] Budget sector support enables Government to build public services over the long term. The Tories have slashed this since they came to power in 2010.

[2] This stipulates that when a government either wilfully fails to protect the security of its citizens, or is unable to do so, the international community has a clear obligation to intervene, choosing timely and decisive action from a wide range of approaches, including diplomatic means, sanctions and in the most extreme cases, military operations.

[3] Including suspending UK arm sales to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen, where there is a clear risk that those arms are being used to violate international humanitarian law.

[4] As proposed by Syria Solidarity UK: www.syriauk.org/p/no-bomb-zone.html

[5] This is the only way to ensure that we do not entrench poverty with one hand whilst trying to relieve it with the other.

Syria’s people deserve our protection

7 April 2017

LCID’s statement on the chemical attack by the Syrian regime in Idlib.
>> Add your name by clicking here. <<

We believe civilian protection should be at the heart of the UK’s foreign policy. The UK is a signatory to the UN’s Responsibility to Protect civilians agreement, and it is time for that to be recognised. Where a government is responsible for mass murder, genocide or war crimes, the international community has a clear obligation to intervene, choosing timely and decisive action from a wide range of approaches, including diplomatic means, sanctions and in the most extreme cases, military operations.

The horrific chemical weapons attack in Idlib, undeniably committed by the Syrian regime, is yet another act of barbarity in the conflict which shows no sign of ending. For too long, the international community has stood back and done nothing, whilst hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, tortured, or forced to flee their homes.

The US. missile strikes on a Syrian government airbase should only be the start of a wider and coherent strategy to protect civilians, and ultimately to help Syrians to establish a democratic, free and socially just country. In the short term, an internationally-led no-fly zone should be set up in Idlib province as soon as possible to prevent further civilian deaths. In addition, whilst DFID’s support for refugees in Lebanon and Jordan is welcome, we, and other European countries, must take our fair share of Syrian refugees too, something this Government has so far failed to do.

Where chemical weapons are used, and where civilians are harmed, we must demonstrate to the perpetrators that such actions will not be tolerated. Inaction has consequences too, and we cannot allow the slaughter to continue, and that is why we support immediate action to prevent further atrocities.

Signed by;
Rachel Reeves MP, LCID Co-President
Alison McGovern MP, LCID VP
Gareth Thomas MP, LCID VP
Ivan Lewis MP, LCID VP
Lord Jack McConnell, LCID VP
Stephen Doughty MP, LCID VP
Angela Smith MP
Ann Coffey MP
Anna Turley MP
Ben Bradshaw MP
Chris Leslie MP
David Lammy MP
Emma Reynolds MP
Jim Dowd MP
John Woodcock MP
Julie Ward MEP
Liz Kendall MP
Luciana Berger MP
Margaret Hodge MP
Maria Eagle MP
Mary Creagh MP
Michael Dugher MP
Mike Gapes MP
Neil Coyle MP
Rosena Allin-Khan MP
Ruth Smeeth MP
Stella Creasy MP
Steve Reed MP
Tracy Brabin MP
Virendra Sharma MP
Wes Streeting MP

Dominic Breslin Warrington North CLP
Caroline Hibbs
Kevin Peel Manchester Central CLP
Cllr Emma Hoddinott Wentworth & Dearne CLP
Roger Sturge Bristol NW CLP
Simon Beresford Ealing and Acton Central CLP
Katie Curtis Hornsby & Wood Green CLP
Nicky Stubbs Barnsley East CLP
William Tricker Wimbledon CLP
James Austin Hornsey and Wood Green CLP
Tom Corcoran Vauxhall CLP
Bridget Frear Wallasey CLP
Ann Hogan Wallasey CLP
Claire Leigh Vauxhall
Bryan Kelly Stoke North CLP
Sonia Alani Hammersmith CLP
Curtis Myers Liverpool
Connor Cunningham Renfrewshire South CLP
Gary Pepworth Thornbury and Yate CLP
Laura Hutchinson Streatham CLP
Glen Mehn
Graeme Burrell Clacton
Cate Tuitt Bethal Green & Bow CLP
Marcus Tuitt Bethal Green & Bow CLP
Zara Ali
Miriam Rice Ealing North CLP
Sheila Franklin Macclesfield CLP
Adam Foster Scunthorpe CLP
Wendy Martin Rotherham CLP
Michelle Jamal
Cllr Steve wilson Sheffield Hallam CLP
Cllr Mark Allison Mitcham and Morden CLP
Jeremy Cohen Walthamstow CLP
Robert Williams Wealden CLP
Abigail Harvey
Matt Goddin Ilford North CLP
Ian Blades Middlesbrough South & East Cleveland CLP
Mike Foster West Worcester CLP
Cllr Steve Wilson Sheffield Hallam CLP
Joe Oliver Exeter CLP
Isobel Dugher Doncaster Central CLP
John D Turner Birmingham Perry Barr CLP
Rose Grayston Croydon Central CLP
Jeremy Latham Walthamstow CLP
Councillor Carole Bonner Croydon Central CLP
Peter Smith Croydon Central CLP
Mary Gregory St Helens North CLP
Kevin O’Grady Mid Norfolk CLP
James Greer
Patricia Ferguson Glasgow Maryhill & Springburn CLP
Cllr Paul Williams Milton Keynes South CLP
Fiona Gordon Swansea West CLP
Roshni Fernando Croydon Central CLP
Maxine Gordon Dulwich and Norwood CLP
Louis Nyman East Hampshire CLP
Jack Lister Salford & Eccles CLP
Sarah Kirby Tooting CLP
Joan Ryan MP Enfield North CLP
Annette Dunne
James A Beckles West Ham CLP
Ken Penton West Ham CLP
Fariha
Alex Cheney Beckenham CLP
Christopher Rushworth City of Durham CLP
Khadija Kayani
Emma Hall
Barry Gilheany Colchester CLP
Sarah Jones Croydon Central CLP
Cornelia Bower Walthamstow CLP
Gerry Friell Walthamstow CLP
Alison Cox Walthamstow CLP
Richard Crowther Penistone and Stocksbridge CLP
Richard Honey West Leeds CLP
Joe Godden Tatton CLP
Rebecca Tinsley Chelsea and Westminster CLP
Dominic McGinley Dunfermline CLP
Daniel Stanley Walthamstow
Adrian Taylor
Alan Featherstone Wigan CLP
Joseph Renny Croydon Central CLP
Mark Boothroyd Camberwell and Peckham CLP
Martin Angus Croydon Central CLP
Daniel Stanley Walthamstow
Stephen Collings Hammersmith and Fulham
Marian O’Regan Belfast
Laura Ilford North
Miranda Stephenson
Jean Pownceby Bootle
Stephen Mendel Dalston
Mike Sleeth Wirral South
Leo Gibbons-Plowright Lewisham Deptford CLP
William Cooper Lewisham Deptford CLP
John J. Lindsley Kingston & Surbiton
Mick Carney Sunderland Central
Councillor Varinder Singh Bola Ilford South
Sarah-Jane Ketterer
Edie Fairservice Croydon Central CLP

Our Responsibility to Protect Civilians

26 January 2017

Civilians caught up in conflict deserve our protection. Jo Cox was working on a report on the responsibility to protect civilians (R2P) with the Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat, which our Vice President Alison McGovern has assisted in finishing.

Today that report launches, and you can read it here.

To coincide with the launch of this report, we have encouraged Labour MPs to sign our statement on the responsibility to protect civilians, to show our commitment as a Party to the international obligations that the last Labour government signed us up to in 2005.

Over 60 MPs have so far signed the statement so far and we are grateful for their support. The full text and signatories are listed below.

Our Secretary Edie Fairservice has also written about the report and R2P for Labour List, which you can read here.

———————————

We believe Labour is an internationalist party with a proud record of fighting injustices around the world, from supporting Indian independence, to the anti-apartheid struggle, to leading action to protect civilians in Sierra Leone and Kosovo. As Robin Cook said, we must never ‘turn a blind eye to how other governments behave and a deaf ear to the cries for help of their people’.

The next Labour Government must learn from the many successes and failures of our foreign policy decisions. Every situation is different, but we will always be guided by our internationalist principles and by our international obligations such as the Responsibility To Protect Civilians, which we signed up to with each and every government in the U.N. in 2005.

This principle acknowledges that when a government either wilfully fails to protect the security of its citizens, or is unable to do so, the international community has a clear obligation to intervene, choosing timely and decisive action from a wide range of approaches, including diplomatic means, sanctions and in the most extreme cases, military operations.

Through our development work and following any direct interventions we will always stand ready to support communities and countries to rebuild with a long term development plan to secure safety, stability and prosperity for their people.

The merits of any actions we take or decline to take must always be carefully considered and scrutinised, recognising that both action and inaction are a choice and each has a consequence. The lessons of Iraq will be important in those considerations – so too must be the lessons of Bosnia, Kosovo, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Syria. The next Labour Government must make the case for an ethical foreign policy and champion a progressive approach to humanitarian intervention.

We have always believed that all people matter, that global inequalities are no less our concern than those we fight at home and that we have moral obligations that reach beyond our borders to people we will never meet and places we will never visit. We will never shirk these responsibilities and will always work to further progressive Labour values on the global stage.

Signed by:
Glenys Kinnock, LCID Co-President
Rachel Reeves, LCID Co-President
Alison McGovern, LCID Vice-President
Debbie Abrahams, LCID Vice-President
Gareth Thomas, LCID Vice-President
Hilary Benn, LCID Vice-President
Ivan Lewis, LCID Vice-President
John Battle, LCID Vice-President
Jack McConnell, LCID Vice-President
Seb Dance MEP, LCID Vice-President
Stephen Doughty, LCID Vice-President
Stephen Timms, LCID Vice-President
Stephen Twigg, IDC Chair
Angela Eagle
Angela Smith
Ann Coffey
Anna Turley
Barry Sheerman
Ben Bradshaw
Caroline Flint
Catherine McKinnell
Chris Bryant
Chuka Ummuna
Dan Jarvis
David Hanson
David Lammy
Emma Reynolds
Lord Frank Judd
Gloria De Piero
Gisela Stuart
Harriet Harman
Heidi Alexander
Helen Jones
Holly Walker-Lynch
Ian Austin
Jamie Reed
Jeff Smith
Jess Phillips
Joan Ryan
John Mann
John Woodcock
Jon Ashworth
Jonathon Reynolds
Karen Buck
Kate Green
Kerry McCarthy
Liam Byrne
Liz Kendall
Louise Haigh
Louise Ellman
Lucy Powell
Margaret Hodge
Maria Eagle
Mary Creagh
Mary Glindon
Matthew Pennycook
Melanie Onn
Michael Dugher
Mike Gapes
Neil Coyle
Nic Dakin
Pat McFadden
Paul Flynn
Rob Marris
Rosena Allin-Khan
Ruth Smeeth
Sharon Hodgson
Stella Creasy
Stephen Kinnock
Steve Reed
Susan Elan Jones
Tracy Babin
Valerie Vaz
Virendra Sharma
Wes Streeting

Urgent: Email your MP this morning and urge them to attend today’s emergency debate on Syria

13 December 2016

Unimaginable horror was unfolding in Aleppo last night. There are reportsof children, women, men, medics being summarily executed by pro-Assad forces.

Boris Johnson needs to come forward with a comprehensive plan for protecting civilians in Syria.

Please email your MP now and urge them to attend today’s emergency debate on Syria at 12.30 – and demand that he does so.

You can find out who your MP is and their email address here.

Thank you to everyone who attended our talk with Syrian activists yesterday – we’ll be in touch separately with details about how to get involved in their campaigning.

We must act now and air-drop life saving aid into the starving cities in Syria

28 November 2016

LCID is joining the call for Theresa May to authorise immediate airdrops of food and medicine to people trapped in besieged areas of Syria.

We are running out of time to help the 275,000 civilians trapped in east Aleppo. The head of the White Helmets Raed al-Saleh has said that Aleppo’s residents are less than 10 days from starvation.

Air-dropping aid is only ever a last resort, but who can credibly claim we have not reached that point?

120+ MPs have so far signed the statement, which is shown in full below. This is a cross-party initiative being led by our Vice-President Alison McGovern MP in her role as Co-Chair of the APPG on Syria and we wholeheartedly encourage all MPs to support it.

We’d also encourage everyone to sign the petition – the Government will have to respond if 10,000 people sign it.

Additionally, LCID will be hosting a on Syria and the incredible work of the White Helmets on Monday 12th December in Parliament in Committee Room 9 at 7pm. More details to follow – please coming along if you can make it.

After Rwanda, after Srebrenica, we said ‘never again.’ If that is to mean something, we have to recognise this is our last chance to save lives in Aleppo and act immediately.


The statement:

In May, responding to the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Syria, the government said that “preparations for airdrops will now take place and go forward rapidly because there isn’t a moment to lose”.

Almost 200 days later and thousands of Syrians are still waiting, none more desperately than the 275,000 civilians trapped in besieged East Aleppo.

This is now the epicentre of the crisis. The Assad and Putin regimes are moving to ‘exterminate’ all those who have not already been killed as a consequence of their indiscriminate bombing campaigns.

In the last ten days all hospitals there, including the last children’s hospital, have been bombed out of operation. Centres belonging to the heroic volunteers of the White Helmets have also been destroyed. The last aid delivery was three months ago and medical workers estimate we have less than two weeks before all food runs out.

With our Royal Air Force already operational in the air over Syria, we are calling on you to urgently authorise the airdropping of aid to besieged civilian populations.  It is simply not acceptable that during the biggest aid operation in the UN’s history, and in the full glare of the world’s media, nearly 100,000 children are facing the slowest, cruelest death because we cannot reach them with food and medical supplies.

Airdropping aid is only ever a last resort, but who can credibly claim we have not reached that point? The Syrian government is refusing all attempts to allow access to UN relief agencies whilst simultaneously dropping chlorine gas onto civilian populations.

Our country has dependable partners on the ground in Aleppo, such as the White Helmets, who are ready to coordinate collection and distribution of the airdrops if we can summon the courage to carry them out.

The time for excuses is over.

The CDC has a poor track record – it doesn’t deserve a £12 billion reward, paid for out of our aid

25 November 2016

LCID is urging MPs to vote against the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) Bill next Tuesday 29th November.  The bill will increase the amount of UK aid that can be spent by the CDC from £1.5 billion to £6 billion – and possibly as much as £12 billion.

A strong private sector is essential to the eradication of poverty in any country. But the CDC has a hugely patchy track record mired in controversy. There’s nothing wrong with building malls and luxury homes, but it’s hard to see how this is the most effective way to tackle poverty. DFID’s own record on private sector is hardly much better – the government’s own aid watchdog gave their private sector aid spending an amber-red rating.

Furthermore, with the Tories already committed to spending a quarter of the aid budget through non-DFID departments, this huge potential increase in money for the CDC is yet more aid money taken away from the life-saving work DFID does. After all, why introduce this bill if you don’t intend to use it?

The CDC has a poor track record – it doesn’t deserve a £12 billion reward, paid for out of our aid. We therefore encourage Labour MPs to stop Priti Patel sneaking this bill through by attending the 2nd reading next Tuesday and voting against this bill.

It’s essential for our NHS that we end the era of the British tax haven

3 November 2016

mike kaneThis article first appeared on LabourList on Tuesday 1 November

By Mike Kane,  Shadow Minister for International Development and Labour MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East – @MikeKaneMP

Theresa May has pledged a crackdown on tax havens. She should start by cleaning up our own backyard – the secretive network of UK-linked tax havens like the British Virgin Islands, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.

Today and tomorrow’s summit of overseas territories leaders, taking place in London, provides the perfect opportunity to kickstart that process. They are our very own treasure islands, stuffed full of booty from around the world: entire economies set up to help wealthy people and unscrupulous companies to avoid paying their fair share of tax. That is money that could be spent on public services like schools and hospitals.

Over the past few years the Tory government has talked a tough game on tax dodging, decrying bad practice and demanding alleged tax avoiders like Starbucks “wake up and smell the coffee”. Ongoing scandals like that which engulfed Apple, and a wilful blind spot when it comes to UK-linked tax havens, tell a different story.

And it is the world’s poorest countries that are the worst affected by this inaction. Corporate tax avoidance is estimated to cost developing countries an astonishing $200bn every year more than they receive in aid. Much of that is siphoned off via tax havens like Mauritius and the British Virgin Islands. Money needed to tackle poverty, cure disease and promote education disappears offshore never to be seen again. That is a gross injustice.

Back in April the Panama Papers leak blew a hole in tax haven secrecy. Those with the means to do so were bending or breaking the rules on a huge scale, benefiting at the expense of ordinary people in the UK and in the world’s poorest countries.

In response, 300 top economists including Thomas Piketty and Nobel laureate Angus Deaton, told world leaders that tax havens “serve no useful economic purpose“. They also argued that the UK is uniquely placed to lead a crackdown, because it has sovereignty over around a third of the world’s tax havens through its overseas territories and crown dependencies.

Our involvement cannot be understated: more than half of the 214,000 firms named in the Panama Papers were registered in the British Virgin Islands, a UK overseas territory. Make no mistake – the UK sits at the heart of a global web of tax havens.

David Cameron came up woefully short on his promises to fix this problem, culminating in the refusal of many overseas territories to even attend his much touted anti-corruption summit earlier this year, much less make the kind of commitments that are needed.

That’s not to say others aren’t trying.  The anti-poverty charity ActionAid has called for greater transparency from UK-linked tax havens; the tightening up of global rules; and reform of the UK’s tax treaties with poor countries – another tool big companies use to avoid paying tax.

Caroline Flint and her colleagues on the public accounts committee secured an amendment to the finance bill which could compel all UK companies to declare the tax they pay everywhere they do business – including tax havens. Ministers must now find the courage to implement the law.

The new prime minister talks a good game on tax dodging, but she can no longer ignore the glaring issue of the overseas territories: our single biggest contribution to the global tax system.

Transparency is a vital first step. We need to know who own the countless anonymous shell companies registered offshore. That’s why ActionAid and others are campaigning for registers of beneficial ownership. Only by tackling secrecy can we know who is hiding their money, and hold them to account.

All of us are expected to pay tax – we should demand no less of the wealthy and big corporations. Tax is the key building block of our public services. Without it there is no NHS, no police, no schools, no welfare state. Everyone should pay their fair share.

We are accountable for the overseas territories and they are accountable to us. And when it comes to cleaning up tax dodging, they are our greatest weakness and our greatest strength. They have a corrosive impact on the global tax system, eating it from the inside. But we have the power to change that. By acting to sort out our tax havens we could set an example to the world.

Theresa May must put the UK’s British treasure islands on notice. It’s time to end the age of the British tax haven.