Unite the Union

Unite the Union

June 11, 2007 07:11 ET

Deputy leadership candidate call for return to 'moral purpose' in foreign policy

Cruddas calls for "clearly planned and phased timeline for withdrawal" from Iraq

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - June 11, 2007) - Jon Cruddas, Deputy leadership candidate, will today call for a renewed moral purpose in foreign policy making and a planned strategy for withdrawal from Iraq to ensure a political settlement is achieved by the Iraqis themselves.

In a speech to the Foreign Press Association today (Monday 11th June) Jon Cruddas will say that the government has erred from the internationalist foreign policy agenda established by Robin Cook between 1997 and 2000 for Britain to be "a force for good in the world". He will say the UK's moral standing and place in the world has been damaged as a result. He will also say that the UK and US' continued presence in Iraq is provoking rather than providing a solution to the ongoing violence there.

"I voted for the war because I believed the premise presented in support of military action - that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, that we could, after securing the removal of Saddam, ensure the establishment of a liberal democracy, and that this would help the development of liberal democracy. In each respect they have proved to be untrue.

"As well as being a catastrophic failure for the people of Iraq who are living, everyday with and suffering the terrible consequences of our actions, I believe that the conflict has and is having serious and ongoing ramifications in the UK and in terms of foreign policy leadership in the rest of the world."

The Deputy Leadership candidate will say the government must now establish a defined set of foreign policy principles and criteria to determine how the UK acts in the world in order to restore trust in our foreign policy. These should include stages that have to be addressed before military action is considered, a thorough assessment of the likely outcomes and the securing of international support through international institutions. He says the government must also do more in future to ensure that Parliament is better consulted on important foreign policy decisions.

Jon Cruddas, who has been working closely with Robin Cook's former foreign policy adviser, David Clark, on the speech will say that the disastrous situation in Iraq is casting a 'long shadow' across our foreign policy agenda. He questions that if the situation in Darfur had existed pre-Iraq, a no-fly zone would already have been implemented which could have saved thousands of lives.

On the UK's foreign policy direction, Jon Cruddas will say: "In 1997 New Labour set out a new foreign policy agenda with an ethical dimension. Robin Cook's vision was that our actions in the world could be a force for good, not merely a global extension of our national interest. And it was a force for good. We originated the landmines ban, established the International Criminal Court and intervened to protect thousands of civilians in Kosovo, persuading the US and our European partners to commit to doing the same.

"This has somehow been distorted and, whatever the motives, people here and abroad believe our foreign policy has become a cynical and self-interested exercise in power."

On Iraq, he will say that we have to move quickly to internationalise the situation, putting the forces in Iraq under UN Security Council control as a transitory arrangement with a clearly planned and phased timeline for withdrawal. This, he will say, is an essential requirement for the Iraqis themselves to find a political settlement to their country's problems. He will say that the involvement of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Syria are also key, alongside the international community, to achieving lasting peace in Iraq.

Jon Cruddas will also call for a more questioning relationship with the US. He will say that the UK cannot solely be the US' ally of choice. He will say that our tacit support for detention without trial at Guantanamo and rendition flights, both outside of international law, have helped erode the UK's moral authority and damaged our standing in the world.

The UK he says, has to understand its' place in a globalised and 'multipolar' world and play its part in building a stronger Europe and using our economic and political strength and stability to build spheres of influence further eastwards and establishing a stable world order. He will also call for democratic and accountability improvements with the international institutions.

He will also say that diplomacy and a policy of containment is the way to proceed with Iran.

Mr Cruddas will say again that he was wrong to vote in favour of the war in Iraq and did so on the failed premises of the existence of weapons of mass destruction and the establishment of a liberal democracy in Iraq. He has called for an Iraq inquiry to be conducted once the troops have been withdrawn to form the basis for a reconciliation with the British people.

Jon Cruddas also voted against the replacement of Trident which he says is a relic of the Cold War period and not appropriate for the security threats we face today.

A full copy of the speech can be found at: http://www.joncruddas.org.uk/downloads/070607_FPA.pdf

Contact Information

  • Unite Press Office
    Catherine Bithell
    020 7 793 2589 or 07958 473 224