Following my article this morning on Young Labour’s policy commitment to withdrawing the U.K. from NATO, I can exclusively reveal that Michael Fallon has written to Jeremy Corbyn, calling on the Labour leader to reject the call of his Party’s youth wing.
The Defence Secretary’s letter, the full text of which is enclosed below, further urges Corbyn to get Young Labour to correct a series of inaccurate and untrue statements about NATO and the transatlantic alliance.
Here’s the letter:
16th October 2017
Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn MP
Leader of the Labour Party
House of Commons
[Dear Mr Corbyn],
For nearly seventy years, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) has helped keep this country and our Allies safe through collective defence. NATO is the cornerstone of this nation’s defence at a time of increasing threats and global insecurity. I was therefore deeply concerned to read this morning that over the weekend, Young Labour voted for a motion that called on Labour to commit to withdrawing from NATO.
This, of course, follows your refusal to commit to the NATO principle of collective defence during an interview at Labour Party conference last month and your longstanding opposition to Britain’s membership of NATO.
Given the crucial role that NATO plays in our defence and the role the UK plays in NATO, the public here and our allies abroad deserve clarity on your stance on this matter.
Will you therefore, in your own words rather than those of your spokesman, categorically reject this call from Young Labour? Will you make clear that you support the principle of collective defence as enshrined in Article 5 of the Washington Treaty?
Will you ask Young Labour to correct the inaccuracies in the motion passed this weekend and clarify the following points:
· That NATO was not formed “in order to enshrine the dominance of American interests” in the 1950s as claimed, but has in fact kept this country safe for nearly seventy years and was created because Western Europe faced a very real threat of invasion from the Soviet Union.
· That NATO’s current presence in countries such as Estonia and Poland is welcomed and necessary for the defence of Europe, particularly in the face of Russian belligerence.
· That we owe a debt of gratitude to the 1,000 British personnel who are part of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence (EfP) and are proud of the role they fulfil in keeping Britain and Europe safe.
· That NATO is headed by Jens Stoltenberg, who is not a fascist, but a key ally of the UK and someone who I was delighted to welcome to the UK and the home of our independent nuclear deterrent a fortnight ago.
· That NATO is a defensive alliance which saved lives in Bosnia and Kosovo. It is supporting peace and security by working with democratic governments in Iraq and Afghanistan and has certainly not pursued “wars of aggression”, as the Young Labour motions claims.
I am sure I do not need to remind you that the commitment to defend this country from attack and protect our international allies is constantly put to the test. Questions over this commitment are therefore not hypothetical but relevant to the lives of UK citizens, our troops and the security of our Allies.
I therefore hope you can be clear, in your own words, of the need for NATO and the need to reject the deeply flawed approach of this Young Labour motion.
With all best wishes,