Peace and Security

Russia’s attack on Ukraine signals a new period of global conflict – in which totalitarian regimes like Russia and China are trying to break up the system of treaties and laws that have kept order since 1945. In the Middle East, the murderous Hamas attack on Israel on 7 October last year now threatens to become a regional war.

I’ve been in the forefront in building solidarity with Ukraine in the UK – I was in Kyiv until 36 hours before the bombs dropped, making links with unions and human rights groups there. We should go on supporting arms, aid and training for Ukraine – whatever it takes to defeat Putin, and we should boost our own defence output to do so.

Over Gaza, I called back in October for an immediate ceasefire, the unconditional return of Israeli hostages and a de-escalation strategy. I see no conflict between supporting Israel’s right to self-defence, and the demand for a two-state solution, immediate humanitarian aid for the civilian victims in Gaza, and the prosecution of Israeli war crimes in the international courts. I support the earliest possible recognition of the Palestinian state by the UK, and I am working inside the Labour Party towards this goal.

In a dangerous world like ours, we need strong alliances. That’s why I opposed Brexit, and support Labour’s plans for a security pact with the EU.

It’s why, in Labour’s policy discussions, I pushed for the party to declare its commitment to NATO “unshakeable”, and renew our commitment to the nuclear deterrent. From Berlin to Helsinki and Kyiv and I have worked with Labour’s European partners to promote democratic values and internationalism.

I want to see the UK’s armed forces well funded to meet the new situation and to look more like the communities they come from. Those changes are already under way and Labour should accelerate them. One of the ways we can do this is to enshrine the rights of veterans and service families to first class public services into law.

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