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David Lammy unveils new ‘green dimension’ to Labour’s foreign policy

Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy (Aaron Chown/PA)
Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy (Aaron Chown/PA)

A Labour government would have a “green dimension” to its foreign policy so that “never again will we be dependent on fossil fuel dictators”, the shadow foreign secretary has said.

David Lammy’s speech at the Labour conference in Liverpool echoed the pledge of former foreign Secretary Robin Cook that Labour’s foreign policy would have an “ethical dimension”.

Mr Lammy announced a “green dimension”, instead, and told delegates Labour would push for climate action to become a fourth pillar of the United Nations.

A Labour government, the shadow foreign secretary added, would also work with international partners at the International Criminal Court to agree a new international law of ecocide, creating international criminal responsibility for large scale, wanton, and unlawful destruction of the environment.

Furthermore, Labour would recommit to 0.7% development spending, to support developing countries addressing climate change and meet the UK’s commitments to international climate finance following government cuts.

Mr Lammy said: “The climate crisis is the biggest challenge the world faces. Devastating millions of lives.

“Just as Robin Cook introduced an ‘ethical dimension’ to our foreign policy in the 1990s the next Labour government will introduce a ‘Green dimension’.

“While Liz Truss tries to row back on our net Zero Commitments. Labour’s Foreign policy will be Green Never again will we be dependent on fossil fuel dictators.

“We will push for climate action to become a fourth pillar of the United Nations as recommended by my colleague Lord Collins’ Review, and we will seek to work with allies and partners to create a new international law of ecocide to criminalise the wanton and widespread destruction of the environment.”

On the UK’s relationship with the EU, Mr Lammy said that “unlike Liz Truss, who could not say if France is a friend or a foe, we know that European nations are among our closest allies”, adding that Labour would ditch “Liz Truss’s protocol Bill”.

He insisted Labour would “strengthen co-operation with the European Union with a new security pact to complement Nato’s role” and restore the moral compass to Britain’s foreign policy by making sure “British shelves will never be stocked with the products of modern slavery”.

Later on, shadow international development minister Preet Gill spoke about Labour’s commitment to reinstate 0.7% of income on aid, saying: “We will deliver a distinct development programme that brings value for money and ends the Government’s wasteful and transactional approach.

“The climate emergency is this century’s biggest threat to humanity.

“That is why I am also announcing today that Labour will legislate to make sure that, as a priority, Britain’s aid budget helps address climate change.”

Mr Lammy and Ms Gill’s appearances on the main stage were preceded by the Ukrainian National Anthem being sung in the hall and a speech from Ukrainian MP Lesia Vasylenko, who called for further military support for Ukrainians fighting on the ground.

She told delegates a “quick victory” for Ukraine was “crucial” for the UK and the world.