Speech to Labour Party Annual Conference 2013 by Ivan Lewis MP

Ivan Lewis MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, speaking to Labour Party Annual Conference 2013 in Brighton, said:Conference, this is a historic year for our commitment to international development.

And I want to start by saluting you. Without your campaigning, your passion and your values there is no way the United Kingdom would have reached the historic landmark in 2013 of spending 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income on overseas aid.

It would never have happened without you. And it would never have happened without the leadership of a Labour Government.

A Labour Government which tripled aid, transformed DFID into a world leading development agency and ensured the world wrote off debt.

A Labour movement working with the decent maj ority of the British people in pursuit of social justice at home and abroad. That combination was unstoppable then and can be unstoppable again in the future.

When the cynics say politics doesn’t make a difference. All politicians are the same. Remind them who created the National Health Service, who established Sure Start and who introduced the national minimum wage? And yes conference, who put Britain on the road to delivering its responsibilities to the poorest in the world. Labour, Labour, Labour and Labour again.

Friends, too often we have allowed foreign policy to either be the preserve of an intellectual elite or fundamentalist anti-Europeans. Today, I signal our determination to take the fight and the arguments to the squeezed middle. That the interdependence and interconnectivity of the modern world is not a choice but a reality.

People’s cost of living – their food bills, the costs of their fuel and the jobs which will be available to our kids and grandkids in the future are all influenced by developments way beyond our borders. That is why fair trade, energy security, tackling climate change and tax dodging are relevant to the everyday lives of people in our country.

And to those who say we can’t afford to spend less than 1 penny in every pound on overseas aid, I say you are wrong. The One Nation Britain I love is a compassionate Britain, a Britain committed to fairness, a Britain which wants to see no child anywhere in the world left without food, a decent education or access to universal healthcare. A Britain where people give record amounts to Comic relief year after year in the good times and the bad.

But also a Britain which understands our world is changing. We can’t allow short term austerity to undermine our long term national interests. Our aid recipients of today will be our trading partners of tomorrow. ‘One Nation One World’ is not a slogan but a living breathing expression of today’s interconnected and interdependent world.

So Conference, what of the Tories?

Of course, I welcome their decision to honour our commitment to 0.7. But the difference between them and us can be summed up in one sentence. “I didn’t come into politics to help poor people.” The chilling words not of some rogue right-wing Tory backbencher, but Justine Greening, David Cameron’s choice to be Secretary of State for International Development.

Well, Justine I have a message for you this morning. I did come into politics to help poor people. So let’s bring this election on. And swap jobs as soon as possible.

In only three years the Tories have squandered Britain’s world leading legacy on international development. David Cameron was unwilling to put the time in in the run up to the recent G8. This led to disappointing progress on the tax dodging which costs developing countries millions in lost revenue.

Cameron has also failed to turn up fo r work at several key meetings where UK leadership on development could have made a real difference.

And in typical Cameron style in retreat from the right wing of his party he has sought to face two ways. One day he says increasing aid is morally right, the next he panders to the right and makes false claims that in future it will be primarily used to plug holes in the defence budget or support business.

A divisive Prime Minister leading a deeply divided party. For him, aid detox for the nasty party; for us, development an expression of our core values.

Last year at Conference I asked Tessa Jowell to launch a global campaign to ensure investing in early childhood is put at the heart of the new post-2015 development framework. This summer Tessa and I visited Malawi where we saw for ourselves how in difficult circumstances and against the odds organisations like Sightsavers are offering hope to disabled children and their families.

Today I can announce that Tessa is launching a global petition to mobilise people across the world to send a clear message to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that an integrated approach to the early years should be at heart of international development.

If Sure Start and children’s centres are right for our kids then surely their underlying principles must be applied equally to the poorest kids in the world.

And Conference, when we think about the poorest kids in the world let us reflect on what the children of Syria are facing today – witnesses to and victims of horrific violence.

One million children made refugees; almost two million unable to go to school. That’s why it is so important that we not only do our part but galvanise other countries to step up to the plate and fulfil their responsibilities. Unfettered access for humanitarian agencies must now be the immediate top priority for the international community.

Conference, Ed Miliband and Ed Balls have made it cl ear Labour will apply iron discipline to the use of taxpayers’ money. This will mean a Labour DFID from East Kilbride to offices around the world will only invest in programmes which offer value for money, deliver change for the poorest and seek to support self-sufficiency and end aid dependency. We will always to be the first to respond to humanitarian crises.

A tough independent inspection regime will inspect both DFID programmes and DFID offices. Where programmes aren’t delivering they will be ended, where offices aren’t performing they will be subject to special measures. And we will end the scandal of private consultants inspecting private consultants.

We will work with business and NGOs to invest in the infrastructure and drive the cutting edge innovation developing countries tell us they need. But in return business will have to operate decent Labour standards throughout their supply chain, demonstrate a commitment to environmental sustainability and be tran sparent about tax and profits both at home and abroad.

Conference, the horrendous collapse of Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh which killed over eleven hundred people should be a wakeup call to us all. Fair rights for workers, progressive trade unionism and decent jobs should be the hallmark of successful economies and civilised societies. They will play a central role in Labour’s progressive development policies for the twenty-first century.

In 2015 the world will come together to agree a new framework to replace the Millennium Development Goals.

A framework which will apply equally to all countries. Where developed, developing and middle income countries have an equal stake in change.

In the aftermath of the financial crisis and with the emergence of new economic and political powers such as China, India and Brazil this is a big opportunity to recast the values which shape our world. For us, business as usual is simply not acceptable. We want to see a focus on inequality, not just poverty, growth which is sustainable and benefits the poorest. Good governance which deals with the responsibilities of donors and multi-national companies as well as governments in developing countries.

We have set out our vision for a new social contract without borders which brings together the world’s poverty reduction and sustainability objectives. Today I can announce we are mobilising global political change from opposition. We are in the process of developing a centre-left progressive coalition of politicians who share Ed Miliband’s belief that now is the time for radical change in the world, not tinkering at the edges. We favour big structural changes on tax, trade, climate change and inequality. We want to see an end to extreme poverty by 2030, but also an end to aid dependency with new relationships between nations built on reciprocity and shared values.

In only 18 months we will be fighting an election in this country. The Tories will try to persuade the British public that international development is safe in their hands, that Britain’s role in the world is governed by cross-party consensus. Conference, don’t believe it. Our commitment is different, deeper-rooted in our history, broader in its ambition, and above all more firmly based on the values of social justice.

When we come to the election, international development won’t be an issue we just tick off and pass by. It is an issue we will have to fight for.

You see Conference, the difference between us and the Tories is we didn’t come into politics to explain the world as it is, we came into politics to change the world.

LCID’s programme of events for Conference

LCID Reception – Trade, Growth & Jobs
(in partnership with Demos)

Monday 23rd September, 9pm
Hilton Brighton Metropole, Hall 7 – Tyne

Speakers include: Rachel Reeves MP, Jack Straw MP & Kevin Watkins (ODI Director)

Refreshments provided

Both members and non-members are welcome to join this event, although we encourage LCID members to RSVP for priority entry to charlie@lcid.org.uk

LCID & Oxfam panel discussion –
‘One Nation, One World: Social Justice at home and abroad’

Tuesday 24th September, 5.45pm
Grand Hotel, De Vere Room

Speakers include: Ivan Lewis MP, Mark Goldring (Oxfam CEO), Kerry McCarthy MP, Angela Eagle MP & Claire Leigh (LCID co-chair)

Both members and non-members are welcome to join this event, although we encourage LCID members to RSVP for priority entry to charlie@lcid.org.uk

LCID Members Social
Tuesday 24th September, from 8pm
Hilton Brighton Metropole, Waterhouse Bar

All friends and members of LCID are invited to join us for drinks in the main conference bar

Campaigning with Purna Sen – Labour parliamentary candidate for Brighton Pavilion
Wednesday 25th September, 1pm

Meet at the corner of Regent Hill & Western Road (5 mins walk from the conference centre)

All friends of LCID are invited to join Purna Sen for a canvassing session

We hope to see you at one of our events. For questions about this year’s conference events please contact Charlie@lcid.org.uk.

Scottish Labour supports justice at home and abroad

Scottish Labour Conference sends strong message on Scottish Labour’s support for justice at home and abroad.
A packed conference hall in Inverness heard powerful speeches from both Labour Leader Ed Miliband and Scottish Labour Leader, Johann Lamont. While they concentrated on Labour’s commitment to deliver on Social Justice at home, Shadow Foreign Secretary, Douglas Alexander stressed Scottish Labour’s proud tradition as an internationalist party fighting for justice at home and abroad.
Douglas also launched a short video on the theme of why we are passionately proud of Scottish Labour’s part in the fight for global justice. You can view it here.
The video highlights the role Scottish Labour politicians have played in tackling global poverty whether at the International Monetary Fund; on the Board of the World Bank; a Scottish Labour Chancellor playing a lead role at Gleneagles 2005 on Development in Africa and climate change. He also expresses pride in Scotland’s contribution to campaigning organisations like Amnesty, SCIAF, Oxfam and Christian Aid. When we boast that there is nowhere better than Scotland we always remember that there is somewhere bigger.
As well as Douglas Alexander’s keynote address, the Conference Fringe had meetings organised by LCID (picture with invited speakers Douglas Alexander and Ann McKechin); Oxfam IF Campaign; Labour Friends of Palestine; and Human Trafficking in Scotland. Exhibition Stalls included Action for Southern Africa Scotland, SCIAF; Oxfam and WWF Scotland.
Alastair Osborne is Scottish Officer for LCID

How we reported Britain in World debate on twitter

LCID was in the hall this morning for the Britain in the World session. We tweeted throughout as @LabourCID. Here’s what we had to say.

In the hall for Britain in the World which is about to start at #lab10 – LCID hopes to get called to ask a question later

While we waited for the discussion to start we read the text of the contemporary resolutions – Pleased to see reference to pursue a Robin Hood Tax in tax avoidance motion at #lab10

Then we started;
Getting under way at #lab10 – showing film highlighting #dec appeal for Pakistan

Now film about #climate change – reminding us that it’s hitting to poorest hardest – #lab10

Welcoming guests from @oxfamgb and Christian Aid to stage at #lab10 (Guest from Oxfam had been involved in Pakistan flood response, while guest from Christian Aid was working on climate change)

Climate meetings need not to be talking shops but actually make commitments that change lives – @oxfamgb at #lab10

. @DAlexanderMP reminds #lab10 of ConDem threat to cut funding to UN emergency disaster response fund

Christian Aid at #lab10 – climate change caused by minority but it’s the poor who are bearing the brunt

Wrapping up Douglas Alexander said;
.@DAlexanderMP – proud of what we’ve achieved on development – fragile political consensus means we have to continue to build support #lab10

If we meet ppl on doorstep says politics doesn’t make a difference. our collective efforts on dev have changed millions of lives #lab10

Give money yes, says @DAlexanderMP, but calls on Labour members to be involved in campaigning on int dev =Join @LabourCID LCID.org.uk #lab10

Conference then spent some time hearing from Bob Ainsworth, Shadow Minister of Defence, but we picked up this on twitter;

RT @susan_nash: Looking 4ward 2 hearing Wai BurmaUK campaign & @AmnestyUK. Her story brought @nusuk delegates to tears, please come #lab10

We welcomed Wai, a human rights activist who spoke about the situation in Burma and the Amnesty International campaign.

Powerful testimony from Wai,human rights activist from #Burma -thnks Gordon Brown & @DMiliband 4 UK support.If only couldve done more #lab10

Wai was given a Find out more about the campaign at www.amnesty.org.uk/hands

It was time for David Miliband, who reminded conference that;
DMiliband – thanks to Labour on int’l dev we went from a laggard to a world leader – #lab10

Finally, we moved into the Q+A session, LCID had a question on the Robin Hood Tax but it didn’t get called. None

Question on MDGs at #lab10 – how do we ensure tough issues don’t fall of the agenda
In response, . @DAlexanderMP need political leadership to achieve #MDGs – to pick up the phone and make the case #lab10

RT @jonnytench @LabourCID also very important question asked on protecting women’s rights worldwide. Labour must continue to champion

International Development at #Lab10 Conference – Monday 27th

International Development will get its moment in the spotlight this morning when Shadow Secretary of State, Douglas Alexander MP addresses conference as part of the Britain in the World plenary session (Conference Hall from 9am).

Once the speeches are over lunchtime has a solidarity theme to it, with Parliamentary Friends of Colombia hosting Colombia: The Struggle for Justice at 1pm in Midland Hotel – Alexandra A and the New Statesman asking Gaza life support: Is aid a failure of politics? also at 1pm but at the Novotel Hotel – Chetham Room

At 4.15pm representatives of LCID will be attending the policy session in Manchester Central, Charter 1 to let the National Policy Forum know our ideas on what our development policy should be.

The evening slot sees the first event on climate change, with the Foreign Policy Centre pulling together an excellent panel, which includes Gordon Brown’s Special Adviser on Climate Change, Michael Jacobs to explore what happens After Copenhagen: How can we galvanise global action on climate change? (5.30pm at Palace Hotel, Palace 7).

How to do development in fragile states is a hot topic at the moment, so World Vision and Saferworld’s event, which includes former DFID minister Ivan Lewis MP on the panel, The Afghan, Somali…and me? The UK’s engagement in fragile countries (Manchester Central, The Usdaw Marquee – Room 2 at 5.30pm) should be interesting.

At the end of the day, don’t forget to join LCID members at 8pm in the bar of the Midland Hotel for a drink. Look out for the t-shirts and banner.

Disclaimer – We’re human, we make mistakes, the fringe guide makes mistakes, so we offer our apologies if we’ve omitted events or got our venues confused. Let us know by e-mailing tom@lcid.org.uk and we’ll try to fix it!

International Development at #Lab10 Conference – Sunday 26th

The fringe programme kicks off and the highlight for LCID is Fighting Poverty in the ‘No-Money era’: Could Robin Hood protect the poor and the Planet? Hosted by Oxfam and the TUC at 6pm in Manchester Central, Central 4.

LCID has been campaigning in support of a Robin Hood Tax for the last year, and we recently asked all the Leadership candidates if they supported the idea. We’ll be listening with interest to the debate and what the new leader has to say on the issue.

At the same time in Manchester Central (The Usdaw Marquee – Room 3), Amnesty International will be exploring Defending the defendersHuman rights have a place at the heart of UK foreign policy. The panel includes Wai Hnin Pwint Thon, a Burmese Human Rights Defender. A stark reminder that in many places around the world, the idea of a Party Conference to debate and discuss ideas wouldn’t be able to happen.

This evening sees the first of a number of fringe events throughout out the week focusing on Palestine. Palestine: For peace and justice: why the siege on Gaza must be ended, hosted by Unite together with Palestine Solidarity Campaign & Labour Friends of Palestine is at 5.30pm at the Radisson Hotel – Harty/Barbirolli.

Finally, a number of LCID friends will be heading along to the Save the Children reception, which starts at 9.00pm in the Derby Suite at the Midland Hotel.

Disclaimer – We’re human, we make mistakes, the fringe guide makes mistakes, so we offer our apologies if we’ve omitted events or got our venues confused. Let us know by e-mailing tom@lcid.org.uk and we’ll try to fix it!