Our Chair Claire Leigh’s speech to Lab14

I’m Claire Leigh, the Parliamentary Candidate for Tonbridge and Malling and the Chair of the Labour Campaign for International Development.

As the most recent socialist society to affiliate to the Labour Party, LCID exists to keep international development high on the party’s agenda, and internationalism at the heart of our Labour values.

International development is among the last Labour Government’s proudest legacies:
– Our Prime Minister and chancellor championed development. under their leadership, britain became a global leader in fighting poverty- establishing DFID, cancelling debt and convincing rich nations to double aid to the poorest countries.
– We helped get 40 million more kids into school, and provided life saving vaccinations and clean water to over 2 million people
– Even during the global financial crisis, Labour stood in solidarity with the Global South.

This legacy has culminated in the UK being the first G8 economy to fulfil our commitment of giving 0.7% of national income in aid.
We should all be proud of what we have achieved together.

Labour has always fought for justice and equality both at home and abroad. That must continue. Globalisation is creating new challenges for social justice everywhere, and the temptation to turn inwards has never been greater.

But in a changing world one thing remains constant: Labour’s socialist values of cooperation, solidarity and internationalism are the values to guide us through these challenges.

And one things for sure; the Tory- led government doesnt get this. Labour and the Conservatives have a very different approach to development because our values are different.

Labour believes all foreign policy should help the world’s poorest people. Conservatives believe it is enough to give aid as a form of charity.

We believe global interdependence means cooperation is indispensible; they view our international obligations as simply a means to an end.

We believe policy – at home and abroad – should be about fairness and reducing inequality. They believe it is enough to pull people over the lowest poverty line.

Conference – an activist Britain is vital to creating a world that is not only less poor, but more sustainable, equal and just.  This is why:
– A future Labour government must maintain Dfid as a strong independent department with a seat at the cabinet table
– A future labour government must ensure that all its policies – on trade, tax, immigration, defence, climate change and growth – are ‘pro- development’. That is the only way to ensure that we do not entrench poverty with one hand whilst trying to relieve it with the other.
– And the next Labour govt should again be a global leader in the fight against poverty and injustice…. We must build coalitions with countries around the world to fight injustice, instability, corporate abuses, tax avoidance and extreme poverty wherever it exists.

An open, globally-minded Britain can once again be a development superpower and a force for good in the world.
Thank you


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