Sir Keir used a Times interview this morning to try and rebrand Labour’s reputation on defence after the disastrous years of Jeremy Corbyn. He tells the paper that Corbyn was “wrong on NATO and emphatically wrong on the Salisbury poisonings”; on Ukraine he says it’s “very difficult to find a dividing point” between Labour and the government:
“I’m absolutely convinced that among the tools in the Russian armoury is divide, divide, divide. The more they sow division, either between us and our allies or within [the] country, then only Russia benefits from that.”
While Sir Keir has proved he’s able to talk the centrist talk, as on other issues he’s failing to walk the walk. While espousing bellicose views to the media, he continues to have an appointed “Shadow Minister for Disarmament” in his shadow cabinet, a role created by the white flag-waving member for Islington North in 2016 and a title held by the same man happy to serve as a defence minister under arch-abstentionist Corbyn, Fabian Hamilton.
The role of shadow minister for disarmament was created by CND supporting Corbyn to create a “change in attitude” in Labour’s foreign police approach; a change in attitude that will tonight see Corbyn speak at a ‘Stop the War’ meeting seeking to blame NATO for the crisis in Ukraine.
If Sir Keir wants voters to take him seriously, perhaps he should ditch this Trotskyist shadow cabinet role and stick to the bread and butter defence policies the public want to see…
The practice of MPs expensing totally unnecessary Apple products is far from limited to Angela Rayner and Matt Hancock. Shadow Minister for Peace and Disarmament Fabian Hamilton went on an Apple-buying rampage as ridiculous as his job title in 2020, buying both a new £1,299 Macbook Pro, a £1,069 iPad Pro 12.9″ and a £1,049 iPhone, along with a bucketload of luxury accessories:
This is far from the first time Fabian’s tech expenses have come under scrutiny. In 2009 it was revealed he’d spent £14,000 of taxpayers’ money on 13 Apple computers in just four years – despite having just two members of staff. Funnily enough, before being elected, Hamilton was an Apple Macintosh consultant and dealer…
How’s this for a conference laugh. Labour’s “Shadow Minister for Peace and Disarmament” Fabian Hamilton has recounted the tale of what happened when Emily Thornberry met the Foreign Office permanent under-secretary Sir Simon McDonald during the election to discuss the event of a Labour win. The plan for day one: appoint a Cabinet minister with responsibility to disarm the UK…
“Just before the General Election on June 8th, Emily Thornberry and Jennifer Larbie, Head of International Policy for Jeremy’s Office, they went to see Sir Simon McDonald who is the Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office, that means by the way that he is the boss, he’s the senior United Kingdom Diplomat… When Emily and Jennifer put to Sir Simon that the idea that if we won on Thursday and if we win in the future – when we win in the future – we will create, because it’s in the manifesto, a Minister, a Secretary of State, a Cabinet role, for Peace and Disarmament, and that would include the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. And McDonald’s reply was: ‘Brilliant, that’s a really good idea.'”
Oh to have seen Sir Simon’s face…
Speaking at a Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament fringe meeting, Hamilton also recounted a phone call with Corbyn during which he said the Labour leader reiterated his opposition to nuclear weapons:
“He [Jeremy Corbyn] said: ‘You and I have been active in Parliamentary CND and I have always taken the view that our independent nuclear deterrent is a waste of money and worse.'”
A member of Labour’s National Policy Forum outlined plans to bring forward motions at next year’s conference to make nuclear disarmament official party policy. George Downs said scrapping nukes was “Jeremy’s vision” and the left’s capture of the party’s Conference Arrangements Committee could be used to bring it about:
“Fingers crossed this time next year we will be debating the National Policy Forum Report which includes nuclear disarmament, but if not a contemporary motion which isn’t ruled out of order by this new Conference Arrangements Committee, and we can get Labour Party policy which is in line with Jeremy’s vision.”
Could unilateral disarmament become official Labour policy this time next year?