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Press Cycle #11 – NATO and the ERRF
#1
“What do you make of the debate on NATO and the ERRF?”

This press cycle will be closed at 23:59 on the 27/02/18.

Remember to bolden the "tagline" of your statement. 
“Yes. It’s terribly simple. The good guys are always stalwart and true. The bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and, uh, we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies and… everybody lives happily ever after.”
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#2
I do not pretend to speak for the government on this matter as it is entirely outside of my portfolio. However; as an MP and as a Socialist, I have yet to hear a single argument that has persuaded me to support a European Rapid Reaction Force. In the first place, there is nothing that ERRF can accomplish that cannot be accomplished by NATO more easily. In the second, NATO needs to determine what its purpose is in a post-Cold War world. I think it is sensible for NATO to take on a broader humanitarian and peacekeeping role if it is to remain relevant in the new millennium - ERRF would necessarily undermine this objective.
Rt Hon Harriet Roth MP
Member of Parliament for Stoke-on-Trent North (1983-)
Former Secretary of State for Infrastructure, Energy and the Environment
Former Secretary of State for Housing and Urban Development

Socialist Campaign Group - Eurosceptic, Peacenik, Bennite
Labour Party



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#3
The debate on NATO vs ERRF should never really have occured in this way. The government have hijacked a motion to express support for NATO to turn it into support for part of NATO and the ERRF. If they wish to present a proposal or a debate on the ERRF, they should be doing that seperately. What they have done instead is to turn support of NATO into support of the ERRF.

The government, via the Foreign Secretary, have stated that they do not support NATO in full, that they support some form of partial NATO complimented by the ERRF, but when this is questioned they raise points of orders and have opposition silenced - what they need to say is something outright - they need to say that no, they don't support NATO in full, instead of pretending that they do, and silencing opposition.
MP For Hexham 1987 -
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#4
Harriet Roth is absolutely right to say what she did about the ERRF. The ERRF is nothing but a secondary military force that would ultimately undermine NATO.  As the Government have failed to convince Ms Roth and its party members of the benefits of the ERRF they should do the right thing and support the NATO motion for Global Security.
James Allen

MP for Leeds Central

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#5
The Prime Minister said in his conversation with the President that the European Rapid Reaction Force was a topic which had merits. The President also agreed in our meeting that there were questions around the ERRF that needed answering, such as the first refusal of troops and the EU's failure to provide clarity around military planning. The fact is this, there are concerns with the ERRF that need to be addressed, this simply cannot be swept under the carpet and ignored. 
James Allen

MP for Leeds Central

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#6
Not only has the Leader of the Opposition played fast and loose with the Special Relationship by using his private conversations to make a political point, it now appears that he was being terribly economical with the truth. His repeated statements in the press seem to have forced the President to clarify that he is not opposed to the ERRF. The President of the United States thinks that the ERRF is a good idea if well-implemented: can we trust what Harold Saxon says about NATO when he can't even tell us the truth about his conversation with the President?
Rt. Hon. Sean Manning MP

Chancellor of the Exchequer (2000 - )
Labour MP for Bristol East (1992 - )
Chief Secretary to the Treasury (1997 - 2000)
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#7
I've been totally clear on Conservative Policy on NATO, we remain 100% committed and completely prepared to continue to be a leading member of the alliance, it's a shame this joke of a Labour Government cannot give the same assurance if you listen to the Foreign Secretary. We've been entirely clear on our opposition to the ERRF .The Government have failed to respond to  concerns we've raised in the house and are happy to sweep it under the carpet, leaving the future of  Global Security at one's peril
James Allen

MP for Leeds Central

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#8
I would personally like to thank President Powell for his visit to the United Kingdom, we discussed a great many issues which will begin to surface over the course of the remainder of this Parliament. Of course his latest statements do rather put Harold Saxon in a spot of hot water don't they? For days Mr Saxon has been claiming that President Powell is vehemently against the ERRF, even going so far as to claim that President Powell himself claimed it would undermine NATO and needed "explaining" or words to that effect. What we now see is that Mr Saxon has either misled the press and country, for which he should apologise, or he has so misunderstood the President at dinner that he confused positive feelings and an endorsement of the ERRF for negative feelings and a condemnation of the ERRF. If the latter is true then how can anyone call Mr Saxon fit for the office of Leader of the Opposition, let alone fit to be Prime Minister? It is time for Mr Saxon to come clean and tell the truth, he has politicised the Special Relationship and now he has been found out for, at best, incompetence and at worst downright lies.
The Rt Hon Sir Dylan Macmillan MP
MP for Bedfordshire Mid (1983-Present)

Leader of Her Majesty's Most Loyal Opposition (1992-Present)
Secretary of State for Energy 1987-1990

@Dylan_Macmillan
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#9
I don't understand how Mr Saxon has lied. The President of the USA has stated that he won't approach the idea of an ERRF with outright hostility, that it could be positive and he doesn't expect it to challenge NATO. The actual response to this will only be known when we know what form the ERRF will take - no one can offer a cast-iron approval or disaproval until one knows exactly what form it will take. Mr Saxon has not said that the President opposes the ERRF outright, I suggest the Government do not start to claim that the President's words are definite support.
MP For Hexham 1987 -
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#10
This Government are more than happy to proceed with the ERRF without any thought as to the future of NATO. I have asked Six Questions to the Government which the Foreign Secretary and the Chancellor ignored on several occasions, not a single member of this Government will answer them. Why? Because they know the ERRF is not a golden egg and they know that NATO will become a relic of the past, this Government is happy to jepoardise our Global Security just to keep Europe onside.
James Allen

MP for Leeds Central

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#11
It is quite disappointing to see members of the opposition resort to hysteria over an issue they have no concrete information about. Harold Saxon and his chums have been spending more time complaining to the press about this issue than anything else, and I should know for he spent a lot of times criticising my Government for taking action to ensure the country didn't run out of fuel. What has been made clear by the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary is that this Government is committed to both NATO and further co-operation between European states on defence, because they are not mutually exclusive. NATO is made up primarily of European members, NATO forces are manned by European soldiers and staff, NATO is a European military alliance and greater co-ordination between European countries will only strengthen NATO and Europe as a whole. Now, I understand that Harold is desperate for headlines and that he thinks he is onto a strategy that will win the next election, but all I see is a Leader of the Opposition driven by political opportunism and hysteria when compared to a Labour Government that has the future security of this country and countries in Europe as a primary focus. I am certain that when it comes to the next election the British people will see straight through Harold Saxon's ever so transparent and ridiculous strategy.
Rt Hon Oscar Hattingly QC MP
Member for Truro
Leader of the Liberal Democrats
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#12
Press Cycle closed.
“Yes. It’s terribly simple. The good guys are always stalwart and true. The bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and, uh, we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies and… everybody lives happily ever after.”
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#13
Note: ERRF related comments in the General Press Cycle won't be marked as part of that, but will be marked as part of this press cycle. 

Labour: 30

I mean, I'm not sure if you won this press round so much as the Conservatives lost it, to be completely honest, but you did really effectively attack them for POTUSgate and you did effectively make the case of how, on a practical level, the ERRF could be a good thing for Britain. You do need to reply to some of the Tories' more logistical concerns, though, and also make the 'emotional' case for the ERRF should you want to win the British public over.

Oh, and remember collective responsibility is a thing, no naming names. That was a bit of a humiliation. 

Conservatives: 20

You were on track to win this round, and dregs of your earlier comments and concerns still stick in the British public's eye - they are very sceptical of the ERRF, though not necessarily because they believe it'll undermine NATO (and the worries it could become more than promised is the case you should probably be primarily making following Powell's comments). 

The President's comments did, however, mark a major humiliation for you guys and once again the press question if Harold Saxon is the statesman Britain needs. Let this be a lesson you remember clearly and take forward in future: not everything should be used as a political point, especially something so sensitive as diplomacy and foreign relations. The first namedrop of the President (while causing backlash) planted the seeds you needed to plant, but by using him as a political tool repeatedly you forced him to go out and clarify - and it didn't go in your favour. 

Influence Points Awarded to:

Alwyn Thomas: "It is time for Mr. Saxon to come clean and tell the truth, he has politicised the Special Relationship and now he has been found out for, at best, incompetence and at worst downright lies." Yeah, owch. 

Elizabeth Tanner: "Now, I understand Harold is desperate for headlines and that he thinks he is onto a strategy that will win the next election, but all I see is a Leader of the Opposition driven by political opportunism and hysteria when compared to a Labour Government that has the future security of this country and countries in Europe as a primary focus." Owch 2.0.

Charles Kinbote: "The actual response to this will only be known when we know what form the ERRF will take - no-one can offer a cast-iron approval or disapproval until one knows exactly what form it will take." Kinbote, interestingly, takes a more moderate tone of concern to the ERRF that I think could probably work better than pure protest and hysteria. Kinbote's other stuff, trying to spin the President's statement to make it appear perhaps more ambiguous than it was. It's actually quite effective damage control, but damage control still means there's damage and things have to be healed, which is very much the case here.
“Yes. It’s terribly simple. The good guys are always stalwart and true. The bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and, uh, we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies and… everybody lives happily ever after.”
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