Thank you for your email about building a more peaceful world.
Liberalism and cooperation have a critical role to play in securing peace, promoting democracy and defending human rights across the world. Scottish Liberal Democrats will always be outward-looking and internationalist. We want to remove barriers, not build them up, and we will work in partnership for recovery.
To build a safer, more peaceful world and tackle the climate emergency we will:
- Work to protect international development spending. It was after all Scottish Liberal Democrats who enshrined the 0.7% GNI spending target into UK law.
- Act to tackle the climate emergency and declare a nature emergency. Our plans will accelerate action to meet the tougher target of a 75% emissions reduction by 2030 that was built into Scottish law by the work of the Liberal Democrats. Every delay will cause more pain for those countries already living with its impacts and most at risk of the worst damage. This will include supporting the refocusing of public pension funds towards sustainable investments and reporting on progress.
- Continue to call on the UK Government to make a fully-funded commitment to resettle 10,000 refugees a year and create safe and legal routes to sanctuary for those fleeing war and persecution. We should be welcoming them with compassion and dignity.
Ultimately, Liberal Democrats want a nuclear-free Britain and a nuclear-free world. We believe that these aims, and all of Britain’s interests, are best advanced by actively and constructively working with the UK’s allies and partners in the European Union, Commonwealth, UN and NATO to develop effective global solutions.
We are clear that Britain needs to step down the nuclear ladder, pursue multilateral disarmament and meet the UK’s obligations as a signatory to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of nuclear weapons (preventing the spread of weapons and the associated technology, and working towards disarmament). We need to end the unnecessary 24-hour nuclear patrols of the high seas which are designed to meet a Cold War threat that no longer exists. This would reduce the UK nuclear warhead stockpile and help the UK fulfil its obligations in international law.
It is why Liberal Democrats singlehandedly blocked plans for thee like-for-like replacement of Trident when it was in both Conservative and Labour manifestos. It is also why we strongly oppose the new proposals to increase the number of warheads. Increasing the UK’s nuclear stockpile is in direct breach of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and does nothing to address the imminent risks our country faces. It does nothing to help places such as Yemen where hundreds of thousands of children are at risk of starving to death. It will diminish Britain’s clout overseas and impact the most vulnerable.
Liberal Democrats are also determined to improve controls on arms exports, including by introducing a policy of ‘presumption of denial’ for countries of concern. For example, we denounced the government’s decision to resume arms sales to Saudi Arabia last year. You can read more here.
The UK should only intervene militarily when there is a clear legal or humanitarian case, endorsed by a vote in Parliament – working through international institutions whenever possible. You will recall that Liberal Democrats opposed the invasion of Iraq in 2003 because it was not justified or legally authorised. We will encourage dialogue and mediation to reduce conflict between and within countries.
It is important to recognise that there are clear international threats to our security. It is just over three years since Russia used chemical weapons in an attack that killed a British citizen in Salisbury. In 2014 we saw the illegal annexation of Crimea and the shooting down of flight MH17 over Ukraine. We must provide for our defence and that of our allies in the face of such threats.
I hope that you find my reply helpful and thank you again for getting in touch.
If you want to see the next Scottish Parliament put recovery first, I hope you will feel able to give us both your votes on 6 May.