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General Press Cycle
It was an indescribable honour to share a platform with Nelson Mandela and rally against apartheid and this Conservative government's complacence towards it. No one should be in any doubt that a Labour government would put upholding and fighting for human rights at the very core of its foreign policy - including doing whatever it takes to end apartheid once and for all.
The government's Children and Families' Commissioner Bill is fair enough, but it is also a huge missed opportunity - a missed opportunity to both set concrete policy to safeguard children, and more importantly to set the safeguarding of children into wider law. With the government making clear across Ministers, bills and departments that it lacks a clear plan to tackle health inequality, Labour has proposed some amendments to ensure we can have the formation of a basic plan to do this.

But more importantly we know that any Childrens' Commissioner is walking blind until we have a formal and legal definition of childhood safeguarding that he can act on, so we urge the government to get round the table with all of the relevant stakeholders and implement some concrete proposals now that can lead children to live happier, healthier and more prosperous lives.
The new Democrat defence policy, as outlined in my speech, marks a shift from the decline that our forces are being subjected to, and a shift from the decline that will follow for Britain's international standing. Democrats are calling for £4 billion worth of investment in our armed forces, with special focus on upskilling & training our military, and one of the largest ever investments in the RAF in peacetime. We have also lodged our opposition to Government plans to cut 10 destroyers & frigates, and given an outline of plans to not cut down to 38 infantry battalions, but to instead keep 46. Britain must lead in the world - and I am proud my party are leading the way, when the Government have no answers, no ideas, and no imagination.
Alex Cardigan MP
Deputy Prime Minister (1992-present)
Leader of the Liberal Democrats (1990-present) | MP for Montgomery (1983-present)
Former BBC Broadcaster | Liberal Party | XP: 20 | Issue Champion | Safe Pair of Hands
It's been months and this rudderless Government has failed to roll out a coherent South Africa strategy to parliament and the public. We still don't know what the overall strategy is or even what the loose aim of the sanctions are. We've been kept in the dark about something as simple as under what conditions they will be lifted. Does this Government seek to end Apartheid or do they just want to end the embarrassment caused by the cowardly actions of their former party leader.  If you ask the Chancellor you'll get one answer, the Foreign Minister another, the Prime Minister a bizarre synthesis of the latter two, while the Home Secretary will just drone on to hear the sound of his own voice. After months without a coordinated strategy it is now more clear than ever that this Government were just making up policy on the fly on such a crucial matter of human rights, emancipation, and justice and hoping that there would be no more scrutiny once the press cycle moved on.
Tommy Dawson
Labour MP for Sheffield Brightside (1979-Present)
Socialist Campaign Group. 9 XP. 15 Marx Visits. Media Darling, Campaign Guru, Issue Champ (Econ Equality)
Deputy Leader (1990-1992), Shadow Chancellor (1990-1992), The Most Dangerous Man in Britain (1992)
My constituency and my city are two things I hold nearest and dearest to my heart so when I rejoined the Cabinet I was ready to put up a fight about getting to the bottom of the Hillsborough Disaster, luckily the Prime Minister shared my conviction and the conviction of all Liverpudlian MPs on this subject. My statement today in the House of Commons is not the end of the discussion but it marks a turning point for everyone in Liverpool, never before has there been such a comprehensive inquiry into the tragic events of that day, never before have victims' families been on the front line of the discussion in this way, and never before has there been the promise of criminal sanctions should there have been any foul play on any side. This Government is giving a voice to the voiceless, it is governing on behalf of the whole United Kingdom, and it is committed to finding out the truth of what happened in Sheffield on the 15th of April 1989. I would like to thank my fellow Liverpudlian MPs for their commitment to the truth which next Summer we shall finally find out for all to see.
Nicholas Eden
MP for Vauxhall (1974/1 - Present)
I have just come from the House of Commons where I laid out the plan for the next steps in Iraq. While Labour trip over themselves to criticise the Government over a leaked and ultimately false report it is the Conservative Party that is taking advantage of the United Kingdom's unique position in the World to provide hard and soft power to make the World a safer place. Our plan draws in regional players in Syria and Egypt with deep and intimate knowledge of local culture, international players in France and America with financial and security power to bear, and international legitimacy through the successful passage of a UNSC Resolution endorsing our plan. I look forward to the Labour Party's apologies and their eagerness to set the record straight after they were taken in by the many mis-truths printed in the media over the past few days.

The Government's plan for Iraq is bold, visionary, and crucially it is internationally recognised and backed. The Labour Party bemoaned the lack of local voices, Syria and Egypt are part of the leading commission. The Labour Party bemoaned the absence of key European and Western partners, France and the United States are part of the leading commission. The Labour Party bemoaned the lack of international approval, calling the Government modern day imperialists, the United Nations Security Council has endorsed our plan. Britain is at its best not when it is retreating from the World stage, handing out tens of thousands of unemployment slips to our troops and isolating ourselves on our island, but when we are leading the way on human rights, security, and the rule of international law. I am proud of the work our soldiers have done in Iraq, now we must press on and stabilise the situation so that Iraq can flourish after too long under the rule of an authoritarian despot.
Nicholas Eden
MP for Vauxhall (1974/1 - Present)
Britain took the right but difficult decision to stand with our international allies in protecting human rights and the cause of peace. Our brave Armed Forces worked to release Kuwait and the Iraqi people from the grip of Saddam Hussein. Now the Government has taken the right decision to not abandon Iraq in its hour of need after the fall of the previous despotic regime. With international backing and UN legitimacy, Britain is leading the way with action to preserve peace in the Middle East and rebuild Iraq after years of deadly, authoritarian rule. It is a proportionate and temporary action - and one that is required if Iraq, the Middle East and the world is to feel safe and secure in the future.
The Foreign Secretary's Hillsborough announcement today brings up a lot of pain for my constituents and people across Merseyside. However, I am hopeful it can now bring a period of healing for the city.

There are still important questions to be answered. We need to ensure this is given the appropriate Ministerial force - that means the Home Secretary must work on this inquiry, not the Foreign Secretary though I appreciate the symbolism of him making the announcement in Parliament. I hope the government will confirm this will be the case and will outline how trust can be built between the Home Secretary and the people of Liverpool, considering William Croft attacked representatives fighting for justice - the same representative the Foreign Secretary commended - as 'politicising' this issue.

Secondly, we need confirmation that the chair of this inquiry will be from the Liverpool city region and can be a figure that is trusted by the people of Merseyside so that trust and consensus can be built going forwards. This is vitally important.

The government has made clear criminal proceedings may be considered going forward as a result of this inquiry. This is a stunning victory for the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, but I must always ensure my constituents and those who care about this issue are aware that should such proceedings occur in future it is vitally important no comment is made so that the process can be carried out fairly and smoothly.
I was delighted to address the National Trust on placing parks and open spaces at the heart of our agenda to “make life worth living, and places worth living in”. I announced over £250 million pounds to improve existing green spaces and to allow community groups to create new ones, bringing enormous benefits to local places and the people who live there. I also set our how parks should be placed at the heart of our confident vision for the next millennium, and new protections for some of our most amazing countryside. The Conservatives are the only party committed to ensuring everyone has access to high-quality parks and green spaces - we want to make our communities the best place to live.
Bumper edition of the GPC today, so I'll try and keep it short

The majority of this was taken up by foreign affairs and Hillsborough, in some form or another. Murphy's contributions on the latter were, typically, well thought out and powerful, managing to strike the right tone on an issue like this, whilst also reminding us of some of the previous views expressed by some Tories on this. This was made easier with the appointment of a new Security Minister, and the controversy that ensued (no, not that, the other one.) It undermined what on the face of it was a good move from the government (although Rupert Murdoch may not share that assessment...)

The government did a good job shifting the focus from this, however, with the announcement of new news in Iraq. People appreciate hearing some good foreign affairs news, after Yugoslavia and South Africa, and are fans of the strong statement by the Foreign Secretary, who manages to talk up the international agreements and get some digs in at Labour over their defence spending plans.

1 XP each for Murphy and Macmillan

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