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?