Keir Starmer, the leader of the UK’s Labour party, is set to announce his plans to enhance Britain’s global influence and challenge the Conservative government’s leadership in a key speech. Starmer will emphasize the need to repair the damaged international relationships caused by Brexit and the policies of Rishi Sunak’s government.
In an effort to establish himself on the world stage, Starmer will meet with several world leaders, including Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and France’s President Emmanuel Macron. He aims to rebuild Britain’s international partnerships if his party wins the next election, as he believes they have been weakened under the current government.
During his speech in Montreal, Starmer will directly challenge Sunak, urging him to affirm that he will confront the Conservative MPs who advocate for Britain’s withdrawal from the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR). Starmer will claim that the government’s lack of commitment to the ECHR is harming Britain’s global influence and hindering its ability to lead on the international stage.
He will criticize the constant threats by the Conservative government to withdraw from the ECHR, stating that it is a desperate attempt to stir division and retain power, without considering the potential consequences for Britain’s security and prosperity.
Sunak has defended his plan to send cross-channel migrants to Rwanda, arguing that it aligns with Britain’s international obligations, including the ECHR. However, this policy has faced legal challenges. Downing Street has responded by stating that their Illegal Migration Act will bring about the necessary changes to discourage illegal crossings while remaining a party to the ECHR. The government has refrained from commenting on speculation that Sunak may propose leaving the ECHR if the Rwanda policy is deemed illegal.
Starmer, who campaigned for Remain in the Brexit referendum, will assert that even a veiled threat to leave the ECHR would place Britain in the same position as Russia and Belarus, compromising its standing in the world. He will call upon Sunak to stand against the dissenters within his party and prioritize British security over the narrow interests of the Tory party.
Sunak, however, argues that he has already elevated Britain’s international standing, particularly through efforts to resolve the Northern Ireland trading arrangements post-Brexit. He has also secured a defense pact with the US and Australia, as well as political agreements with Macron and US President Joe Biden. In November, Sunak will host an international summit focused on artificial intelligence.
In contrast, Starmer will paint a less optimistic picture, highlighting the challenges facing the West, including climate change, people smuggling, terrorism, and assaults on democracy. He believes that after years of diminishing influence and power, it is crucial to rebuild the bridges that the Tories have burned in order to shape the future.
This week, Starmer visited The Hague for discussions with Europol, the EU’s crime agency. He also unveiled plans to establish a returns agreement with Brussels if Labour wins the anticipated general election next year. These proposals faced criticism from the Conservatives, with Home Secretary Suella Braverman accusing Starmer of turning Britain into a dumping ground for migrants who arrive illegally in EU countries.
As Sir Keir Starmer strives to amplify Britain’s global influence and confront the Conservative government’s leadership, he will present his vision for a revitalized international standing and restored partnerships. It remains to be seen how the Conservative government and its leaders will respond to Starmer’s challenge and whether his call for unity and international cooperation will resonate with voters.