Labour eyes UK-EU security ‘pact’ amid fresh concerns over Trump return

Sir Keir Starmer has said Labour would seek a new security pact with the EU if it wins the next election.

It comes amid renewed concerns across the continent about the impact a Donald Trump return to the White House may have on Nato and European security.

The Labour leader, who travelled to Munich to meet world leaders at a major security conference, was careful to avoid explicit criticism of the potential next US president.

But in setting out his plans for a new security arrangement, he affirmed his party’s “unshakeable commitment” to Nato.

In a lengthy statement as he left the German gathering, he said: “The UK and EU face the same threats: not just growing Russian aggression, but instability in the Middle East, a climate emergency and global health crises.

“Closer UK-EU security co-operation through a new security pact can strengthen our shared capacity to respond to these threats and challenges.”

It follows Mr Trump’s recent comments that he would not protect a nation behind on its Nato financial commitments and would “encourage” the aggressors to “do whatever the hell they want”.

Labour’s shadow defence secretary David Lammy has said he is prepared to work with Mr Trump – despite having previously called him a “woman-hating, neo-Nazi sympathiser”.

He told BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg: “We will work with whomever is in the White House, it doesn’t matter, frankly, who is the incumbent of Number 10 or the White House, we are the closest allies.

“It’s a prevailing and strong partnership, it will remain that, we should not get too carried away with the rhetoric that of course we’ll all hear over the next few months in an election cycle.”

At the Munich Security Conference, Sir Keir was involved in meetings with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

He has said he would work with member states of Nato to develop a “Democratic Resilience Centre” to counter disinformation and hybrid threats, as well as focus on Russian aggression and defence against weapons of the future.

On the death of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, Sir Keir said: “Alexei Navalny is the latest victim of Putin’s cruel system.

“Labour pays tribute to Navalny’s tremendous courage in fighting for truth and democracy.

David Lammy
Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy said he will work with whoever is resident in the White House (PA)

“This is a generational security challenge that will require a long-term response, but also an agile response in the way we organise with our allies. It will require new structures and alliances.

“When we pay tribute to Alexei Navalny, let it be not just in words, but deed. We must work together to ensure change is his legacy.”

Sir Keir also said the Conservative Government had allowed the “degradation of the UK’s armed forces”, saying it was a “shameful indictment of the Tories’ short-sighted politics and refusal to take the blinkers off to face worsening global security”.

He said: “The world is getting more dangerous, divided and disordered. Putin’s war in Ukraine, conflict across Africa and the Middle East and the climate crisis are contributing to a breakdown of the multilateral system that has kept us safe.

“These threats are compounded by an insecure UK economy now in recession.

“Labour is unshakeably committed to the traditional alliances like Nato that our security depends on, but in a changing world we also need to seek new partnerships and build new alliances to face down 21st century threats.”

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