21st Century Defence review – Part 2

Defence policy is a priority for the Labour Party. We have a proud record which reflects this. When Labour was last in power our Armed Forces were modernised and a ‘force for good’ across the world, bringing peace to the Balkans; promoting stability in Sierra Leone; supporting the normalisation of Northern Ireland; countering piracy in the Indian Ocean and counter-terrorism at home and overseas. The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan demonstrated an ability and preparedness to combat dictatorships and extremism overseas, as part of coalitions and in line with international law.

Our commitment to defence is non-negotiable and remains in Opposition: national security and the protection of citizens is the first duty of any government and any party with aspirations to govern. We will work constructively with the Government where possible and hold them to account where necessary.

The strength of our commitment to defence is born out of the understanding that we have a global responsibility to help reduce international conflict, combat international terrorism and weapons proliferation and contribute to peacekeeping and peacemaking operations. This understanding is coupled with a hard-headed realisation of the risks we face, the aims we hold and our capabilities.

We will ensure that Labour defence and security policy is rooted in progressive values and principles. Going into the review, we define these principles to include:

  • Reserving the right to act in national self-defence, as we did in government by intervening alongside our allies in Afghanistan following 9/11.
  • Using military force only after all peaceful and diplomatic avenues to avert conflict have been exhausted and within international law.
  • A commitment to preserving and protecting universal human rights and to doing what we can to uphold the internationally recognised principle of the responsibility to protect.
  • A commitment to effective conflict prevention as well as being responsible post-conflict stakeholders once a conflict has ended.
  • A commitment to helping others to help themselves and a capacity-building approach which might apply to states regional organisations.
  • A commitment to multilateral cooperation. The threats we face are global and therefore shared and so the most effective solutions will inevitably be joint.



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