The UK’s Opposition Labour Party members have passed an emergency motion declaring the new AUKUS military pact between Australia, UK and the US as a “dangerous move” threatening world peace.
The party’s annual conference is underway in the seaside town of Brighton, where members had pushed through the emergency motion on Monday despite the party leadership backing the agreement earlier this month.
The motion reads “Conference believes that in contradiction to Tory PM Johnson’s statement that ‘this will promote stability in the Indo-Pacific region’, in fact, this is a dangerous move which will undermine world peace,”.
Under the AUKUS alliance, the three nations have agreed to enhance the development of joint capabilities and technology sharing, including a collaboration on future nuclear-powered submarines for the Royal Australian Navy.
Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer had backed the alliance when it was announced, saying: “Britain must look after our most important relationships.”
It came as Andy McDonald, who was shadow secretary for employment rights in Starmer’s frontline team, stepped down from the post claiming that the party was “more divided than ever”.
The conference vote was condemned by one of its affiliate workers’ unions, the GMB union, which warned that opposition to the new military agreement would undermine industries and jobs.
The Labour Party conference, which opened over the weekend, has been seen as the first major test for Starmer’s leadership.
He won his first big win when his planned internal party election reforms were passed by the party membership and has insisted that his focus remains on setting the agenda for winning the next general election.
His senior shadow minister, foreign secretary Lisa Nandy, made references to her Indian roots and her father who migrated from India to the UK in the 1950s and worked on creating the country’s Race Relations Act.
She said,“When the cotton stopped coming, the mills stopped running and the workers went hungry. But members of my family, who worked in those mills, were among those who welcomed Gandhi to Lancashire. Because they knew, as I know, as the first mixed race woman to ever hold this office, that solidarity has power and our struggle is one and the sam”.
Labour’s annual conference will be followed by the Conservative Party conference in Manchester between October 3 and 5. The political parties have resumed their annual tradition of in-person gatherings after a cancellation due to the coronavirus .