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Foreign and Commonwealth/Defence

WESTMINSTER -- Conservative Leader Elizabeth Palmer savaged the Liberal Democrats who stood silent on her motion around Trident until it was too late - showing up after a vote had already been called to try and defend their indefensible position in the House of Commons.

"I must say, I've heard it all," Palmer said. "Liberal Democrats called me impatient for waiting five days for a response to a motion introduced in the House of Commons. Five days where 314 LibDems sat silent; and while I most enjoyed the Foreign Secretary's claim that he was 'busy', my question is this: with what? We have no government bills before the House. No Ministerial statements telling us what you're busy doing... What I think happened is the LibDems forgot how to govern."

Turning to the substance of the issue, Palmer laid out the reasons why, economically and militarily, Trident is needed.

"In a world where danger is, unfortunately, still lurking," Palmer said, "Britain must be able to defend itself. We cannot and must not become a country that relies on others to protect us. The Liberal Democrats are content to see us become just that. But at the same time, abandoning Trident is indeed abandoning our role of helping keep the world safe. What's more is Trident's impact on employment. Abandoning Trident will decimate the British economy, as we see thousands upon thousands of jobs axed just so the LibDems can appease the nationalists."

Palmer concluded by saying that only Conservatives are standing up for jobs and the economy when it comes to the issue of Trident, or anything else.

"The LibDems show up when it's too late, and Labour doesn't show up at all," Palmer said. "And what's worse, Labour doesn't even understand the issue - they call for military weapons to be made in the UK or not used, failing to realize that this would mean no Trident. Gavin Holmes is in over his head. And Esther Sinclair is simply a stooge of the Nationalists. Neither can be trusted and neither should be after their poor performance on the first matter of substance to come before the House of Commons."

Rt. Hon. Elizabeth Palmer, MP
Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition | Leader of the Conservative Party
Surrey Heath (1997 - Present)
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CON PR: Out and Into the World; A Global Trading Plan for Britain

WESTMINSTER - Today the Shadow Foreign Secretary, James Savege, promoted the Conservative vision for free trade with countries across the world. Focusing on regaining Britain’s power to negotiate trade deals through an exit of the EU, Savege emphasized the critical need for this citing the direction of British trade and benefits that come of sovereign negotiating.

Quote:It’s been a core belief of the Conservative Party that we stand to promote opportunity for Britain whenever we can. One of the main issues that has impeded that goal of ours is the European Union and its suspension of nations to conduct trade deals on either own behalf. Now before I get into the policy aspect of it, just think about the implications of for one second: is it fair to the citizens of Country A if an unaccountable organization won’t allow them negotiate free deal with Country B, even if it would come to benefit Country A? The answer is that it’s not, simple as that. When the United Kingdom’s economic interests are on the table, the Liberal Democrats have no trouble disregarding that for the federal European agenda. It’s evident that Britain needs a government that puts London before Brussels, and the Conservatives will do so by leaving the EU to regain our right to negotiate trade deals. From there we will have the opportunity to not just accept a growing deficit we can’t get out of with the bailout-to-bailout EU to renegotiate our trade to one that works to benefit British exporters and the British economy. We will have the chance to deal with the rest of the world, which now makes up a larger portion of British trade than Europe, and reach out to countries such as Canada, Singapore, America, and nations around the globe. We see that our trade with Europe is slowly diminishing while the EU’s power is growing, and that the rest of the world is eager to become our partners. Let’s not play reckless politics with our trade and take the realistic approach, which is what the Conservatives advocate.

Touching on critics of the plan, Savege deflected attacks by describing their views on the EU as “narrow-minded” and reminded to them what’s at stake for the British people.

Quote:Now, between the Lib-Lab European consensus would say that we represent a “reckless” vision for Britain, and are forcing between to choose between trade with Europe and trade with countries such as Canada, the United States, and others. But this is absolutely absurd, and I would say that it is rather they who are protecting the narrow-minded view that our current relationship with Europe is worth the prohibition of our country’s ability to negotiation bilateral trade deals, control immigration between 28 nations, soon to be 27, and sovereignty regarding burdening EU laws and regulations. If they think that’s all worth it, then that’s jolly well for them, but when it comes to the fisherman restricted to how many fish he can catch due to quotes, the factory worker worried about unemployed unskilled workers from other countries, and the small-business woman burdened by EU regulations, their voices aren’t being heard by the Lib-Lab consensus. Only the Conservative Party is willing to stand up for them, by providing a plan for Britain to exit the EU and to promote trade with not just the Continent but the whole world. Rather than limit ourselves to an idealistic pipe-dream that has serious consequences on our citizens, its time for us to realize that we have the potential to prosper, and the Conservatives will not have reservations in reaching that.


CON PR: Time to Embrace, not Erase, our Commonwealth Ties

WESTMINISTER - Today James Savege outlined details of the policy unveiled by leader Elizabeth Palmer at the Centre for Policy Studies, stating that only the Conservative Party had a viable economic alternative to our participation in the nose-diving EU project.

Quote:I’d first like to state that it is a prideful moment for my party to unveil this most important policy, which provides Britons a clear vision outside of the EU and hope for the future. Now before my opponents rush to brand my party and myself as “anti-Europe”, it should be highlighted that the mistakes of European economic cooperation can be easily mitigated by way of sticking to trade only and strictly nothing else, which a Tory government will work to achieve. But when Britain joined the EEC in 1973, I don’t think anybody expected the grotesque situation now manifesting itself in Brussels. It is the political centralization into the EU that has been a catalyst for many of Europe’s ongoing problems such as the bailout crisis. As I’ve noted before, the EU restricts Britain’s ability to trade, our ability to control immigration, and our sovereignty through their laws and regulations. We don’t believe that’s worth price, and nor do the British people, which is why we are the party that will support a support a referendum to leave the EU and promote our economic partnerships with the rest of the world with a particular focus on the Commonwealth. We want to build a foundation for that by bringing together the most developed nations of the Commonwealth: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and ourselves and put forth a free trade zone, free movement, and defense cooperation with the opportunity to expand these privileges to other Commonwealth nations only on a case-by-case basis. Once we form the foundation for a CANZUK to-be Commonwealth free trade area, we will include the most developed nations such as Singapore and Cyprus as a second stage. From there we will work to include developing nations from the large, populous countries such as India and South Africa, to even small island nations such as the Bahamas. Our goal is to spread prosperity and opportunity to every corner of our Commonwealth, and it is the responsible, cooperative, and sensible alternate to the EU political union project.

Savege continued stating that strengthening trade with nations outside of Europe, particularly the Commonwealth, would be a “new, grand opportunity for Britain”.

Quote:Now I would reject any notion that this policy is idealistic or “dog whistling”, and on the contrary it is completely rational. The Commonwealth Business Council estimates that a CFTA would account for more than 20% of all international trade and investment, facilitating annual trade exchanges worth more than $1.8 trillion and direct foreign investment worth about $100 billion. We have a growing trade deficit with Europe and a growing surplus with the Commonwealth. Commonwealth nations share a common language, legal and democratic systems, account for a third of the world’s population and a quarter of its trade. The underlying issue, when it comes down to it, is whether Britain wishes to remain tied to the dead political weight of the EU, or retain its own friendly trading and cultural links with our friends and allies that we’ve been unable to fulfill for decades. While other parties have chosen to ignore the Commonwealth and to an extent the rest of the world with their fixation on Brussel's agenda, it is the Conservative Party that wishes to embrace, not erase, our cultural and economic relationship with the Commonwealth for the Twenty-First Century.
The Rt. Hon. James H. Savege, MP of Monmouth (2005-present)
Acting Leader of the Conservative Party (2012-present)
Leader of the Opposition (2012-present)
Shadow Leader of the House of Commons (2012-present)
Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (2012-present)
Frm. Secretary of State for Wales (2008-2012, Shadow: 2005-2008)

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LD PR: There are no tiers in Commonwealth membership, affirms Havilland

Foreign Secretary Chris Havilland replied to the Conservative Party’s proposed abandonment of the European Union and leveraging of Commonwealth of Nations members as an alternative alliance as “dangerous, antagonistic to our fellow Commonwealth nations, and an unsubstantiated projection of diplomatic relationships.”

“First things first, there are no tiers to Commonwealth membership, as the [Conservative Party] proposal alludesto, harking back to the 1900s with Imperial Preferences” said Havilland. “There is no hierarchy where some countries in the Commonwealth are at the front of the line versus the back: each and every Commonwealth nation has a place and equally valued voice in the organization. Neither income nor race nor religion have bearing on the priority that the United Kingdom under this government will give to its peers. We are devoutly committed to the dignity of every human being, the rights of all peoples, and the pursuit of common wealth and the public good.”

“I’m similarly skeptical about the projections that the Conservative Party is putting on our partners," said Havilland. "We are a country that is stronger in the European Union, in part because of the economic opportunities within membership to the EU. Around 50% of our international trade is within the European Union – the Conservatives want to give that up in exchange for unverified diplomatic partnerships that they are projecting will happen. Their proposal suggests that we can jump the queue to the ongoing Canada-EU trade negotiations to craft our own agreement first. I think they mis-evaluate our partners and are doing so at the peril of the British economy and British interests. Our economy is stronger in the stable relationships we have built over decades with our European friends than with diplomatic fan fiction cooked up in the Conservative Party's HQ."

"This government remains committed to its partnerships within the European Union and the Commonwealth of Nations," said Havilland. "We have no intention of ever going back to Imperial Preferences or turning our backs on the strong partnerships we have today. The European Union is not a perfect institution; neither is our own democracy, but we as Liberal Democrats believe in working within democratic processes to improve them. We don't give up: we lead in a tough situation rather than leave it. That remains the policy of this government and will be our position within the European Union going forward."
The Rt Hon L Christopher Havilland PC MP DPhil (Oxon)
HM Principal Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs
Member of Parliament for Warwick and Leamington
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CON PR: Government Refuses to Defend Trident Policy... Again

WESTMINSTER - The Shadow Defence Secretary, Catherine Willoughby, spoke to press outside the House of Commons regarding the Government's refusal to defend their Trident relocation policy, saying that the Government's lack of any action whatsoever endangers national and global security and their inability to put up even a half-hearted defence of their policy of relocating Trident demonstrates a dangerous disinterest in security matters.

'The Government has not paid any attention to the issue of Trident, apart from saying what they need to in order to get the SNP to back them. Since then, they have not unveiled any details as to why we should be relocating Trident, with all the costs incurred thereof; where they might relocate Trident to, in light of a consensus among defence experts that Faslane is the only viable location to base the system; or what is to be done regarding the almost 7,000 jobs in Clydeside that would be lost by the relocation.'

'When asked in the House why the Government is insistent upon relocating the programme within ten years, the Foreign Secretary said only that, "the Trident system is a shared burden upon this United Kingdom and a burden that will be shared." He refused to elaborate on precisely what those burdens are - the burden of up to 7,000 jobs in the Clyde? Most of the opposition to Trident is based on an irrational fear of nuclear weapons. Indeed, their destructive capacity is great, but we know that, which is why they're subject to nothing but the tightest safety and security regulations. No mention of any of that from the Foreign Secretary, only vague platitudes about "sharing the burden."'

'The Government has been in office for months, and yet they've had two prime ministers, zero bills, zero orders, and two statements to the House, none of which has had anything to do with their Trident policy. They are proposing a monumental shift in our defence strategy, in our role in global affairs, in our position in NATO, and in our ability to defend ourselves from both nuclear and conventional conflict. And yet they appear to do so with zero understanding of the implications of their policy for national and global security. A dead sheep would show more backbone and signs of life than this present Government. They back it up with neither words nor action, leaving both Parliament and the British people in the dark.'
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The Hon. Catherine Willoughby MP
Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (2012-present)
Member of Parliament for Windsor (2008-present)
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FoPo Marking

Tories: 16
Labour: -5
Lib Dems: -8

So the headline here is a phenomenal showing by the Tories spearheaded by the now hospitalised former Leader of the Opposition and the Shadow Foreign Secretary. Some seriously strong showings here from team Blue with the EU stuff in particular providing a new dimension to the battle. The Lib Dem defence, where it was offered, was not half bad with Havilland front and centre, but if you guys want to avoid more negative scores across the board you're going to need to offer something a bit more than the occasional response. Nothing from Labour, bad Labour.
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