Today was a special day, as we hosted an event in Parliament to celebrate 10 years of LCID. We’re going to have videos of Gordon’s and everyone’s speeches in the coming days, but in the meantime, here is what I shared on behalf of LCID itself:
When LCID was set up ten years ago our focus then was to promote the fantastic achievements on international development of the then Labour government ahead of the 2010 election. And what a record it was. From establishing DFID, to trebling aid, cancelling debt, to the Climate Change Act and setting in motion the Arms Trade Treaty – millions of people are better off because of the actions of that government.
It really is an honour to have you here Gordon, I’ve never met someone as dedicated to helping the lives of others. The leadership that Gordon and Tony showed at summit after summit as our Prime Ministers was simply incredible. Let us praise too the achievements of our Secretary of States and Ministers at DFID – from Douglas Alexander to Hilary Benn, Claire Short, Glenys Kinnock and Gareth Thomas, of First Minister Jack McConnell, and advisers such as Stephen Doughty, now an MP leading the charge against Brexit or Kirsty McNeill and Richard Darlington, now leading the charity sector’s defence of aid. And of course everyone else in this room who was part of the Make Poverty History campaign and others like it, whether you held organise it, or like me were an activist taking part in the marches, signing petitions or wearing white bands. Today is as much a celebration of all of your achievements as it is of LCID.
Now you don’t need me to tell you that achieving much in opposition very hard, which is why it is so important we have a Labour government again. But I am proud of two things. First, the private members bill that got the 0.7% aid promise enshrined in law. The bill had support from MPs from across the political spectrum and they deserve a huge amount of credit. But more Labour MPs voted for that bill and all the other parties combined, and it would not have passed without the brilliant get out the vote operation that Ally McGovern ran out of her office and I’m proud that LCID members were in the room hitting the phones to help rally MPs to vote.
Second, I’m proud of the campaign we run on protecting civilians in conflict. It is not a popular position to take in the current Labour Party, but it is an important part of the late great and desperately missed Jo Cox’s legacy, and I’m humbled to have representatives from Syrian civil society here today. I’m sorry that we, as a Labour movement, have let you down over these last 8 years, but this corner of it is proud to work in solidarity with you and will continue to do so.
Finally, you are all here today because you think our country can, when it chooses, help make the world a better place. The internationalism we believe in is under threat like never before in modern times, and defending it will be the fight of our lives. I hope you will come away from today’s event inspired and re-energised for the struggle ahead.