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Mike Gapes MP
Member of Parliament for Ilford South
A Local Man with a National and International Voice
My Comments on British Ambassador to the United States Sir Kim Darroch
July 9, 2019
There has been some speculation about how long Kim Darroch will remain in his post. Given his excellent record, and the fact that he is clearly talking truth, regardless of the possible implications for the relationships with the country concerned, would not the best answer to President Trump and some in this House be for the Minister to recommend that Sir Kim Darroch’s term be extended beyond the end of this year, so that he can continue to comment on the uniquely dysfunctional and inept Trump presidency?...
Mike Gapes Article for The Times – July 2019
July 9, 2019
Our country has been seriously damaged by the narrow result of the 2016 referendum. The bitter Brexit division and political impasse of the last three years have not only prevented proper attention to pressing domestic issues like the social care crisis. It has also damaged the standing and influence of the disunited United Kingdom on the global stage. Whatever the final outcome of this tragedy – leaving the EU with or without a deal, or remaining a member state of the European Union through revocation and a People’s Vote – the UK’s reputation has taken a hit. Even if there is a withdrawal deal, Brexit and its aftermath will shape the international standing and role of our country for decades to come. The current institutional structures of global governance, including the United Nations (UN), were established by the allied powers in the aftermath of the Second World War. The European Coal and Steel Community was a peace project designed to ensure France and Germany never went to war again. It evolved into the European Community of six, which then became nine, and is now the European Union (EU) of 28. The 500-million-strong bloc is still a model of democratic governance, peaceful resolution of disputes and the rule of law. But the EU now faces the twin threats of Brexit and assertive nationalist populism – both from far right groups within and from the malign Putin regime in Russia without. The rise of new economic powers in Asia, particularly China, is leading to a shift in the balance of global power. So far, the Chinese government has not challenged the international rules-based system. Indeed, it has seen the benefits of being a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), and a permanent member of the UN Security Council (UNSC). But in time there will be increasing pressure on European states – including the UK – to accept reforms to global institutions, not least the IMF and the UN, that would better reflect the global distribution of power in the 21st century. As one of the five permanent UNSC members, the UK wields significant influence in global affairs. Within the UN system, Britain already works extremely closely with France: while the UK has not used its veto alone since 1972, Britain and France together have had the weight to prevent UNSC resolutions that are not in European interests. Modern UK foreign policy goals have rarely been at odds with those of the rest of the EU and this has allowed Britain’s international influence and representation to be amplified. UK politicians took the lead in trying to stop the Balkan wars and in post war reconstruction. Paddy Ashdown, was High Representative in Bosnia. William Hague played a leading role in a common EU sanctions response to Russia’s invasion of Crimea. Cathy Ashton was EU lead negotiator with Iran and was also central to the deal between Kosovo and Serbia as High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy. EU membership helped the UK to achieve more in its foreign policy than it could have done alone. Post-referendum internal government divisions have increased UK disengagement and if we leave the EU, it will lead to a significant further loss of influence. It would also increase the importance of France to its European partners as the only EU state which is also a permanent UNSC member. Outside the EU, pressure to give up our permanent UNSC seat and veto would rise. We would no longer be able to rely on EU member state solidarity in other UN matters. Natural disasters, climate change, and repressive regimes, civil wars and conflicts have all caused huge movements of displaced people globally in recent years, from countries including Afghanistan, Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan, Iraq, Syria and Sri Lanka. This movement of people will increase as we experience more extreme climate events. Conflicts and proxy wars in the Islamic world, and the violence and challenge presented by Da’esh and other groups, could last decades. The disastrous consequences of our failure to intervene to stop the civil war in Syria has led to 500,000 deaths, most killed by the Assad regime, and 11 million displaced people. There is no end in sight to the civil war in Yemen, or to the Palestine/Israel conflict which will continue to be used by Islamist radicals to inflame passions worldwide. The nationalist autocratic Putin regime seeks to reverse Russian loss of power and influence, whether by political and military support for Assad in Syria, by overt use of military annexation of territory in Georgia, and Ukraine; by asymmetric warfare against the Baltic states; by use of its RT propaganda channel; and by financing anti-EU populist parties. Growing assertiveness by Communist China has been accompanied by a heightened tension over unresolved territorial disputes with Japan, the Philippines and other states, and concern about the future of Hong Kong and Taiwan. There is also uncertainty about the long term commitment and behaviour of the US, our most powerful ally and NATO partner. A further term for the unpredictable nationalist Trump Presidency would be a major challenge for the future of the rules-based international order, particularly for NATO and Europe. Even a Democrat presidency could be constrained by the growing mood of protectionism and isolationism in Congress. The UK has an interest in defending global institutions and in working co-operatively with other likeminded countries in search of global solutions to these challenges. This is no time to leave the EU. On the contrary the UK should increase our diplomatic efforts and resources and engagement with our partners and neighbours to achieve our common goals....
Mike Gapes Ilford Recorder Column – July 2019
July 5, 2019
Our planet is threatened by man made climate change, extreme weather events, droughts and floods, melting ice caps, rising sea levels, poor air quality, and plastic pollution. Yet at the G20 summit in Japan leaders of the largest economies failed to agree because US President Trump blocked new commitments. In the European Union, and this country we are doing much better. In May Parliament declared a climate Emergency. In June the Government announced a target to end all greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the first major economy to do so. Many climate campaigners would like to do this even earlier. But even this target will require big changes. Six House of Commons select committees recently announced the establishment of a citizens’ assembly on the climate emergency where a representative group of members of the public will come together in the autumn to learn about and debate issues, and come to conclusions on the best solutions, such as introduction of renewable energy and electric cars, the end of gas heating and cooking in homes, restrained flying and meat-eating and the planting of many more trees. Last week I was delighted to meet a group of my constituents who had joined thousands of people from every corner of Britain who came to Parliament on “The Time is Now” lobby to tell their MPs that we cannot take our foot off the accelerator pedal and press for an Environment Bill to restore nature, cut plastic pollution and improve air quality. ...
My Statement on the Continued Detention of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe
June 28, 2019
Earlier this week I went to the Iranian Embassy to meet with Richard Ratcliffe. the husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe who has been wrongfully imprisoned in Iran since 2016. Richard is currently on hunger strike outside the Iranian Embassy in London in support of his wife Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who is also on hunger strike in protest over her wrongful imprisoned in Iran since 2016. I admire the determination of both and will continue to call for the immediate release of Nazanin by the Iranian regime. Mike Gapes with colleagues, Joan Ryan and Ann Coffey, meeting Richard Ratcliffe outside the Iranian Embassy ...
Mike Gapes MP Interviewed on LBC
May 8, 2019
Mike Gapes MP Appears on LBC Mike Gapes MP was interviewed on LBC by Iain Dale on 7th May. You can listen to the interview using the video below. ...
Change UK – The Independent Group Launch European Election Campaign
April 24, 2019
Change UK – The Independent Group Launch European Election Campaign Mike Gapes joined with fellow Change UK members to launch the European election campaign ahead of elections on May 23rd. You can view the event, in full, below. ...
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