David Cameron’s European veto ‘fiasco’ proves he is ‘out of his depth’ in dealing with diplomatic affairs, claimed shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander at Labour’s Manchester conference today.
Alexander slammed the Tory’s for boycotting Europe and turning the EU against the UK during Labour’s annual conference.
However the Labour MP acknowledged that Tony Blair’s decision to take the country to war in Iraq almost a decade ago lost the party trust that needs to be won back from millions of people.
“Over the last, difficult decade in the Middle East, we have learned many lessons,” he said. “So let me try and be straight with you: I understand that we have to win back trust.
“A future Labour government will work tirelessly for peace. We will only contemplate the use of force where it is absolutely necessary.
“But it would be as foolish as it would be futile for me to stand on this platform and suggest to you that the future for Labour and the future for Britain involved retreating from a world quite as interconnected as the world in which we now live.”
Mr Alexander claimed that Europe remains the ‘most pressing, most urgent’ policy for the failing government to address and questioned if the coalition knows how to repair the country.
“Does this Government have a clue how to effect that reform in Britain’s national interest? Absolutely not,” he said.
“We all know that change is coming to Europe, so that is why under Ed Miliband’s leadership, Labour will argue for reform in Europe, not exit from Europe.
“Why will we make that case for Britain? Because British jobs, British exports, and British influence in the wider world benefit from Britain’s continued membership of the European Union.”
And Alexander attacked the coalition’s move for severely hindering the UK’s voice in Europe, and claimed that in two years Cameron has proved he is incapable.
“The real tragedy, the national tragedy, is that the Conservatives have marginalised Britain’s voice in Europe just when it matters most,” he said.
“Two years into office and that is David Cameron in a nutshell: out of touch at home, out of his depth abroad.”
He also urged the Primer Minister to end his 14-month silence on speaking about Afghanistan in the House of Commons, and claimed that Labour are eager to support the government’s peace efforts.
“David Cameron, break your silence, take the risks to negotiate for a durable peace in Afghanistan, he urged. “And we in the opposition will support you.”
“If I was Britain’s foreign secretary, I would not sit on the fence, I would not sit on my hands and I would break that silence: I would use my voice and yes I would use my vote to upgrade the representation of the Palestinians at the UN.”
Alexander added: “For Israel to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iran now cannot be justified but nor can Iran’s continued evasion and hate-filled rhetoric towards Israel.”