This is a joint statement from Greg as your Labour candidate and Nick as the former MP whom many of you know.
Like the other parties (except UKIP), Labour felt it right to suspend campaigning for most of yesterday as a mark of respect for the victims of the new atrocity. However, we both feel that we now need to resume the democratic process. More than that: it is in our view essential that candidates set out how we will deal with the issue of terrorism, before we move back onto the wider issues of public services and the economy which should decide the election. If we just try to change the subject and avoid controversy it isn’t showing respect to the victims – parties and candidates need to show what we will do differently to avoid this happening again and again in the coming years.
1. It is essential that counter-terrorism work be adequately funded. Labour believes that the cuts in police numbers need to be reversed – to combat ordinary crime as well as terrorism -and specifically we need to be prepared to provide ample funding for the often highly technical work of intelligence and counter-terrorism.
2. We need to review in detail with the counter-terrorism specialists what they need.in line with judicial authority. We need to back the specialists and our police forces in the battle against terrorism.
3. As Nick wrote at the start of the election, we need to try to avoid getting into further unnecessary conflicts, and in particular any decisions should be taken by the British Parliament, and not, as Mrs May and Boris Johnson have suggested, as a natural response to a request from Donald Trump. This is not to excuse terrorism: people who decide to kill random civilians and even children have no excuse at all. But it means not widening the range of enemies by getting unnecessarily involved again in the incredibly complex feuds of the Middle East. Nor is it anti-American – the point is simply that a special relationship does not mean that we automatically go to war whenever asked.
4. We need to use our trading influence and traditional alliances to press for an end to the funding of terrorist groups by countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Britain’s willingness to overlook their involvement has been partly because they were useful allies in our own wars and partly to boost our arms exports. The price in terms of expanding terrorist networks funded by money from autocratic governments is one we shouldn’t support.
5. We need to work closely with the overwhelming majority of peaceful Muslims and other minority groups to isolate and expose those who are intent on causing intolerable pain and strife for people of every community in Britain.
One of the fundamental purposes of British government is to protect the British people and everyone else visiting Britain, and if Greg is elected this will be one of his fundamental priorities.
Greg Marshall Nick Palmer