LONDON — Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will on Friday insist he is “not a pacifist” and accepts military intervention is sometimes necessary.
In a speech at Chatham House this morning, Corbyn will take on the accusation often levelled at him by critics that he is weak on national security and defence.
He will argue that seeking “peaceful solutions” is a better way of protecting Britain than “the kind of unilateral wars and interventions that have almost become routine in recent times”.
“The ‘bomb first, talk later’ approach to security has failed,” he will add
He will also attack Prime Minister Theresa May for “pandering” to US President Donald Trump.
The Labour leader has been a lifelong opponent of military intervention overseas. He was a vocal critic of the Iraq invasion and has consistently voted against parliamentary motions to launch military campaigns in the Middle East.
Last month he condemned Trump’s missiles attacks on the Assad regime in Syria for having no legal authorisation and escalating tensions in the war-torn country.
Here is what Corbyn will tell Chatham House on Friday morning:
“If elected Prime Minister, I will do everything necessary to protect the safety and security of our people and our country.
“The best defence for Britain is a government actively engaged in seeking peaceful solutions to the world’s problems.
“But I am not a pacifist. I accept that military action, under international law and as a genuine last resort, is in some circumstances necessary.
“But that is very far from the kind of unilateral wars and interventions that have almost become routine in recent times.
“Waiting to see which way the wind blows in Washington isn’t strong leadership. And pandering to an erratic Trump administration will not deliver stability. Britain deserves better than simply outsourcing our country’s security and prosperity to the whims of the Trump White House.
“Britain deserves better than simply outsourcing our country’s security and prosperity to the whims of the Trump White House.
“So no more hand-holding with Donald Trump — a Labour government will conduct a robust and independent foreign policy made in London.
“This is the fourth general election in a row to be held while Britain is at war and our armed forces are in action in the Middle East and beyond.
“The “war on terror” which lies behind these interventions has failed. They have not increased our security at home — rather the opposite — and they have caused destabilisation and devastation abroad.
“The ‘bomb first, talk later’ approach to security has failed. To persist with it, as the Conservative Government has made clear it is determined to do, is a recipe for increasing not reducing threats and insecurity.”
A Labour government would also ban arms sales to Saudi Arabia until their use in Yemen is fully investigated, according to a draft copy of the party’s manifesto leaked earlier this week.
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