Lauren Pizzey is a member of LCID’s executive committee
Despite the prorogation of Parliament, LCID were delighted to host a packed room in the House of Commons to mark its 10 Year Anniversary Reception with The Right Honourable Gordon Brown.
LCID Chair, Mann Virdee, and LCID Founder, David Taylor, opened the event by welcoming guests and outlining the Labour Party’s proud record on International Development.
Speeches were kicked off by Chair of the International Development Select Committee Stephen Twigg MP, who powerfully stated that although he will step down as an MP at the next general election, he will not stand down from the cause for International Development.
“We cannot take our position here for granted, it is vitally important that we stand up for International Development, the centrality of the Sustainable Development Goals and alleviating poverty around the world.” – Stephen Twigg MP
Labour MP Alison McGovern then praised LCID and the work that had been accomplished as a result of their lobbying. However, she warned that the values behind international development were under threat, and said it was important that we continue to demonstrate the case for development.
“I am proud that Britain acts when disaster strikes. It is incredibly important to champion the role humanitarian response plays in protecting children around the world.” – Alison McGovern MP
Former UK Prime Minister Rt Hon Gordon Brown then provided his keynote speech. Mr Brown spoke proudly of Labour’s record in Government on International Development, arguing that debt relief and advancing equality was at the heart of every international strategy. He stated that the Labour party is defending and advancing a cause which is driving equality, justice and fairness around the world.
Mr Brown then noted that as a consequence of the work of the last Labour Government, more people were taken out of poverty than at any other time in the world. He told colleagues that Britain must continue to lead in this area and must help shape future developing institutions.
“Let us not forget that a world that is sinking into nationalism, we must stand for internationalism and build the global institutions of the future.“– Rt Hon Gordon Brown
Shadow DFID minister Dan Carden MP then told guests that the next Labour Government would build on the agenda of the last with regards to international development.
“We will only ever end poverty by tackling its structural causes, and if we want public support, then we need to show that the fight against poverty and inequality is global.” – Dan Carden MP
Stephen Doughty MP paid tribute to Labour’s record on international development, and in particular to Gordon Brown’s contributions to the cause.
“We need to understand that this [International Development] is in our common interest, it’s in the interest of the countries, partners, the fellow humans we share this planet with. It’s in our common interest and that’s why we have to act.” – Stephen Doughty MP
Dr Rosena Allin Khan MP then paid tribute to all British aid workers working overseas, and recalled her own experiences working in Bangladesh and the West Bank.
“The UK has a proud tradition of helping the most vulnerable. As a humanitarian doctor, I have seen the worst of humanity and the tragedies people face. We must continue to fight to make the world a healthier, safer and more prosperous place for everyone.” – Dr Rosena Allin Khan MP
Former First Minister for Scotland Lord Jack McConnell then urged that the cause of international development needs to remain high on the political agenda for the Labour party.
“Delivering the Global Goals by 2030 will help end extreme poverty, build peace and tackle climate change. We need a decade of delivery to secure a sustainable future for all” – Lord Jack McConnell
Former Secretary of State for DFID, Hilary Benn MP, spoke positively of his time serving under both Gordon Brown and Tony Blair’s governments. He stated that due to globalisation, our neighbours are now not only those who live on our street, but those who live on the other side of the world.
“In the end, development in other countries is not about us turning up as a nice former colonial power to say we’ve come to help you develop, it is about people improving their own lives for the better with our assistance.” – Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP
The speeches concluded with shadow DFID minister, Preet Gill, pledging that a future Labour Government would have a feminist approach to International Development.
The event was closed by Mann Virdee, who thanked everyone for coming and invited guests to join the movement to keep International Development high on Labour’s political agenda.