26/01/2017 House of Lords


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That's the end of the day in the House of Commons. We'll now be going


to the House of Lords. Remember you can watch recorded coverage of all


of today's business in the Lords after the Daily Politics later


tonight. Should be on acquiring skills in preparation for return to


their own countries. We will however need solutions in third countries


for those who won't go home. A report rightly calls for a global


plan. Large and developed states will have a vital part to play. For


example, the United States, Canada, Brazil, with Australia and New


Zealand. Some cities have been so destroyed that a huge input will be


needed to make them habitable. I saw this in homes and Aleppo. I welcome


the new Secretary General said he has served as High Commissioner for


refugees. I hope Mr Gutierrez agrees with the report on the point of


redefining who is a refugee. We should perhaps distinguish those


with individual fears of persecution. There will be other


people who have fled because of genuine fears. Group violence, war


or natural disaster. Their plight is real, but different from the more


personal kind. The report shows that UN peacekeeping cost over $8 billion


a year employing 86,000 troops and a total personnel of almost 120,000.


We can all agree it must be possible to get better results from such


massive resources. Sexual abuse and exploitation by so-called


peacekeepers has been a long-running scandal. This cries out for


reflective reform. Given that protecting women and children should


be top priority for peacekeepers. I have two questions for the


government. Will they make the case for enhancing the use of the UN


Secretary General's good offices, which have been mentioned already?


In particular in order to prevent conflicts. Will they insist on


Article 99 powers for preventing wars, genocide and refugee flows.


I ask, what relations does the Secretary General have with groups


like The Hammers, and the free Canton is of northern Syria. They


are all, I believe, too important to be ignored. My Lords, I trust that


leaving the EU will not absorb all our energies. We must, surely, try


to help the UN to perform more effectively than ever before.


My lords, like others I wish Lord Hall well and I congratulate Lord


Jopling on his introduction to this debate. I want to talk about


relations with the US and with the European Union of 27, of course,


after our departure. Relationship with the US will be tested tomorrow,


when the Prime Minister and others have said meat President Trump. She


will no doubt talk to him about a possible US-UK trade deal. On which


we can expect the Americans, like the Indians, like the Australians


and like others, to negotiate as toughly in their own interests as we


shall I hope in hours. The Prime Minister will also be able to say


that we share the US's view on the need to counter international


terrorism, and will want to continue to work together with them to do


that. Including by sharing intelligence. But I hope she will


also say that we do not countenance torture, which includes water


boarding, that we are not in favour of closing our borders to those who


are fleeing conflict and repression in the Middle East and elsewhere.


And I agree with my Noble Friend. And that we believe that the UN will


continue to have a key role to play in an uncertain world. I hope the


Prime Minister will also seek to convince President Trump that the


continued coherence and indeed strengthening of Nato is in Western


interests, and that as she has promised, the promotion and


protection of Western values needs a strong European Union, albeit


without Britain, and that the break-up of the European Union and a


retreat into a world of protectionist nation states is not


in any one's interest. And it follows from that that Britain's own


interest lies, it seems to me, in a continuing close relationship with


the European Union, even after we have left. We shall not be members


of the European Union. We shall not be members of the Common foreign and


security policy. And we will not be present when EU heads of state and


government meet to discuss the crisis of the day. But it is surely


in our interest, as much as in the interest of the EU themselves, that


we continue to work closely with them. And in particular,


bilaterally, with France, on, for example, the approach to and


sanctions on Russia on the Middle East and North Africa. My lords,


none of that will be easy. The conduct of foreign policy seldom is.


But I hope the BRIAN NOBLE:, the minister, will be


able to confirm that it will be in a clear sense of our own national


interest that will determine how a relation with others, including the


US and the European Union. My lords, I welcome this report and I welcome


the work of the new committee. I welcome the UK's commitment to the


preservation and strengthening of the liberal global order, to the UN


and the international suggestions of the UN family and the extensive


framework of international law included in the global human rights


regime. International law, international courts and


institutions, of course, constrain national sovereignty. Successive UK


governments accepted that trade-off, that treaties and international


norms share sovereignty and build an open international order. Now it


appears we have a US administration that rejects many of these


constraints on global order, global institutions and international law.


That puts Britain in opposition to the current thrust of US foreign


policy, and I very much hope he is we all do, that the Prime Minister


will be robust in warning President Trump of the dangers of his


approach. But while British unselect support a global institutions, they


reject the constraints of the strongest and most effective


regional order. They are in favour of global human rights but


passionately reject the invasion of British sovereignty by the European


gym and rights regime. There are uncomfortable parallels with what


drives the trump regime and the British antagonism towards the EU.


The potentially negative impact of Brexit on Britain's impact in the


UN, and the Commonwealth as a potential alternative framework. It


has been a valuable asset to British local influence. We are now


abandoning that dramatic framework. Since we are also debating the UK's


international relations in the light of Brexit, I have looked for a


declaration of British foreign policy by senior ministers in recent


months. There has been remarkably little, beyond empty repetitions,


that by becoming a much less European Britain, we will somehow


become more global. It's a bit like saying that Brexit means Brexit.


Boris Johnson's Chatham House speech on the 2nd of December, however,


promised that this was, I quote, the first in a series of speeches


setting out our foreign policy strategy. It wasn't very strategic.


He spent more time discussing the fate of the African elephant down


the future pattern of corporation on international issues with our


European neighbours. And more time on the residence of Harry Potter


novels on children in South Asia. There was much discussion of British


involvement in Afghanistan over the past 200 years but no reference to


the central to you of British foreign policy, since, before the


English estate became the United Kingdom, on relations with France,


the Netherlands, Spain and Scandinavia. The most he would say


was that Britain would be a flying buttress to the European church,


whatever that may mean, and I suspect he does not know himself.


But he did repeat the old Tony Blair line, that Britain, and I quote, is


a breach between Europe and America, and that we are at the centre of a


network of relationships and alliances that span the world, in


which, I quote, people in the world are looking for a lead from Britain.


Well, he wrote a book on Winston Churchill. It got mixed reviews, and


he should know that Churchill's concept of the UK at the centre of a


network of relationships depended on our retaining a key role in the


European circle, as well as on a transatlantic relationship and in


what Churchill called the British Commonwealth and Empire. Cut the


European dimension out of Churchill's three cycles concept,


and our position in the world is sharply diminished. The only


substantial speech by Mr Johnson that I can find since then was given


at a conference in Delhi on the 21st of January. He made no mention in it


of the Commonwealth, in the capital of what has been the jewel in the


crown of the British Empire, probably because he had been told by


his staff that the Indian government is not enthusiastic about returning


to a subordinate role in a British-led network. There was much


in the speech on Scotch whisky exports, about the pesky terrorists,


he said, that India imposes to limit whiskey exports, and how


nevertheless, Britain and the UK stand together in their commitment


to free trade. Pesky is a term that I last came across when I was a boy


in comics. It is interesting the language of Foreign Secretary still


uses. He went on to say, we have just decided to restore our military


presence east of Suez with a ?3 billion commitment over ten years


for a naval support facility in Bahrain. We have a commitment to the


whole world, and as our naval strength increases in the next ten


years, the Noble Lord Lord West will be very glad, including two new


aircraft carriers, we will be able to make a bigger contribution. In


the Indian Ocean, we have a joint UK-US facility on Diego Garcia which


is vital for our operations in the region. It is exactly 50 years since


Harold Wilson PHIL JONES: Governance announced the


withdrawal from Cillilers on the grounds that it no longer made any


sense to continue to defend and Empire now that it had been given


its freedom. Boris Johnson is too young to remember that. He was only


three at the time. We mean tamed athlete at that time which included


between 35-40 frigates against the 16 we have now, as well as bases in


Aden and Singapore. The Foreign Secretary claimed that Diego Garcia


is a vital UK, as well as US facility. Perhaps the minister can


remind us how much we have in the way of UK military personnel there.


The last time I was told, I think it was two, perhaps it is now four, and


whether or not there are any British military assets based in Diego


Garcia. This image of the world is not about taking back control, it's


about taking Britain back to the 1960s, boys' comics included. And


now we have thepm going to the USA to tell President Trump, according


to the media this morning, that together we can leave the world,


phrase straight out of Daniel Hannan's book on how the


Anglo-Saxons invented freedom and the modern world. Is Theresa May


going to attempt the same subordinate relationship with Donald


Trump that Tony Blair pursued with George W Bush? Does she share the


same illusion that Anglo-Saxon Americans love Britain above all


others, and that clinging to American coat-tails gives us global


status superior to the international roles of Germany and France?


Independent from Europe, pendant on the United States? Commitment to a


liberal international order but dependent on a Republican


administration which is against many of the assumptions of that


international order? That's not a coherent strategy for a post-Brexit


foreign policy. My Lords, I want to thank all Noble Lords who are


members of the committee for an excellent report. And I want to


thank Lord Howe for initiating this debate, and also to pass on my own


best wishes for a speedy recovery. In one of our earlier debates on


this subject, my Lords, the noble lady the Baroness Goldie, in


acknowledging that we face significant challenges to peace and


stability ahead, asserted that they are not ones brought about by the


UK's decision to leave the EU, and that they will not be exacerbated by


our leaving. Well, my Lords, I think that is the crux of today's debate.


And it has been highlighted by all Noble Lords. The question is, how


will a call deliver on that assertion? Man-made and natural


humanitarian crises, poverty and climate change, can only be met by


international co-operation. And the report highlights the year 2015, the


international community, facing up to its responsibilities by reaching


agreements like the disaster risk reduction, the financing for


development, the Agenda 2030 and of course, the Paris climate change


record. The report acknowledged that the watchword for the UN and the new


Secretary-General will be implementation of these agreements.


And Paul Williams from the finance, wealth office said they would be key


to maintaining credibility in the UN itself among other places. Of


course, the challenge to in fermentation, as we have heard in


the debate, are both political and economic, and not least, as all


noble Lords have said, is our future relationship with the US and its new


president. The Prime Minister will remind President Trump tomorrow that


the United Kingdom is by instinct and history a great global nation


that recognises its responsibilities to the world. Downing Street sources


say Theresa May prefers a grown-up relationship with the new president,


rather than by remaining aloof. The benefits of a close, effective


relationship is, we will be able to raise differences directly and


frankly with the president. Well, my Lords, clearly, this week, we have


seen in a little more detail what those differences may look like.


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