Defence is a Basic Right

Labour Manifesto 2017:

The primary duty of any government is to protect and defend its citizens.  We live in a period of growing international tensions. A strong, viable and sustainable defence and security policy must be strategic and evidence led.

As previous incoming governments have done, a Labour government will order a complete strategic defence and security review when it comes into office, to assess the emerging threats facing Britain, including hybrid and cyber warfare. Cyber security will form an integral part of our defence and security strategy and we will introduce a cyber-security charter for companies working with the Ministry of Defence.

We will ensure that our armed forces are properly equipped and resourced to respond to wide-ranging security challenges. Labour will commit to effective UN peacekeeping, including support for a UN Emergency Peace Service.

As the security threats and challenges we face are not bound by geographic borders, it is vital that as Britain leaves the EU, we maintain our close relationship with our European partners. Alongside our commitment to NATO, we will continue to work with the EU on a range of operational missions to promote and support global and regional security.

The last Labour government consistently spent above the NATO benchmark of 2 per cent of GDP. Conservative spending cuts have put Britain’s security at risk, shrinking the army to its smallest size since the Napoleonic wars. The scrapping of Nimrod, HMS Ark Royal and the Harrier jump-jets have weakened our defences and cost British taxpayers millions.

Labour’s commitment to spending at least 2 per cent of GDP on defence will guarantee that our Armed Forces have the necessary capabilities to fulfil the full range of obligations, and ensure our conventional forces are versatile and able to deploy in a range of roles.

Labour supports the renewal of the Trident nuclear deterrent. As a nuclear-armed power, our country has a responsibility to fulfil our obligations under the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty. Labour will lead multilateral efforts with international partners and the UN to create a nuclear-free world.

The UK defence industry is world- leading, and Labour will continue to support development and innovation in this sector and to ensure that it can continue to rely on a highly skilled workforce. We are committed to a procurement process that supports the British steel industry and defence manufacturing industry, which in turn provide good jobs throughout the supply chain. Labour will publish a Defence Industrial Strategy

White Paper, including a National Shipbuilding Strategy to secure a long-term future for the industry, workers and defence.

We have a duty to properly reward and remunerate our Armed Forces. Under the Conservatives, our Armed Forces have been hit by rent rises, pay restraint, and changes to tax and benefits, putting real pressure on service personnel and their families. We will ensure they get the pay and living conditions that their service merits.

Dedicated service personnel are at the heart of our defence policy. Labour will immediately examine recruitment and retention policies in order to stem the exodus seen under the Conservatives.  We will publish new strategic equality objectives to ensure our personnel reflect our diverse society.

We will drive up standards in Service Accommodation, and take action where private companies have failed to deliver. We will consult with service personnel, giving them greater autonomy over their housing choices, and review and improve the Forces Help to Buy scheme.

Personnel who are injured while serving should have prompt access to support and compensation. We will resist any Conservative proposals to abolish the right to seek legal redress against the MoD where compensation claims cannot be otherwise settled.

We are fully committed to supporting our veterans. We will promote greater awareness of the Armed Forces Covenant, seek greater consistency in its implementation by public authorities, and promote increased participation in the Corporate Covenant.

We will also roll out a Homes Fit for Heroes programme that will insulate the homes of disabled veterans for free.


  • Nuclear Free World
  • Strong Conventional Armed Forces
  • Secure Cyber Space

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