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Labour will ‘retool' Foreign Office to make it fit for future, says Lammy

Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy (Aaron Chown/PA)
Gavin Cordon, PA Whitehall Editor

A Labour government will “retool” Britain’s foreign policy apparatus to help rebuild prosperity with a focus on the priorities of working people in the UK, shadow foreign secretary David Lammy will say.

Mr Lammy will say that under the Conservatives, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has been left without the economic and industrial expertise it needs to deal with the challenges of a modern global economy.

He will say more needs to be done to counter increased geopolitical instability abroad which leads directly to rocketing energy bills and rising prices at the supermarket checkout at home.

Mr Lammy, who is launching a Fabian Society pamphlet setting out his foreign policy blueprint, will say: “Labour will make foreign policy choices with working people at the forefront of our minds.”

Under a Labour government, diplomats will be instructed to seek exemptions to the US Inflation Reduction Act subsidy regime and a new approach to trade with Europe while remaining outside the EU single market and customs union.

Labour will also establish a new joint FCDO-Home Office state threats cell to bolster UK security in the face of hostile foreign powers such as Russia and Iran.

Working in partnership with intelligence and security agencies, it will be tasked with assessing the threat from foreign states, disrupting hostile actors and developing new frameworks to protect democracies from interference and misinformation.

“The FCDO lacks sufficient economic and industrial expertise necessary to navigate the challenges of the modern global economy, whether it be the regulation of emerging technologies, or the race to secure the supply of rare earth elements,” Mr Lammy will say.

“We need an FCDO equipped for the challenges of the future, retooled and re-equipped for a new era of geo-economics, disinformation, and technological changes, driven by sustainable growth in the UK and accelerating our transition into a green superpower.

“Modern conflicts are being waged through manipulating energy prices, using critical technologies or resources as bargaining chips, launching cyberattacks and spreading misinformation, and detaining foreign nationals.

“These threats often exist in the grey zone, blurring the lines between peace and war. We need a coordinated response to counter modern state threats.”

Mr Lammy will re-affirm Labour’s “unshakeable” commitment to Nato and its support for Ukraine, while seeking a new UK-EU security pact.

He will promise to push for a “clean power alliance” of developed and developing nations committed to 100% clean power by 2030 while maintaining support for the international rule of law.

“Undermining international law runs counter to Britain’s interests. It damages our moral authority and political credibility,” he will say.

“It makes us appear unreliable and untrustworthy, making future agreements more challenging to reach. In doing so, it serves the interests of authoritarians and dictators who seek to weaken the rule of law.”

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