Labour’s Lammy aims for UK foreign policy reset, Reeves tasked with fixing economy

LONDON: Labour’s David Lammy is set to become Britain’s next foreign secretary, pledging to restore relations with the European Union and push for a ceasefire in Gaza while seeking to build ties with Donald Trump’s Republican Party .

The centre-left Labor Party won a landslide victory in Thursday’s general election, ending 14 years of Conservative government and vowing to bring change to Britain.

While the six initial priorities promised in his election manifesto focused on domestic issues, a long list of international issues await Lammy in the tray.

Labor said long-term peace and security in the Middle East would be an immediate focus. It pledged to recognize a Palestinian state as a contribution to a renewed peace process that results in a two-state solution.

Lammy, 51, traveled extensively before the election, particularly in the United States, where he worked to build ties with Republicans after once writing in Time magazine that Trump was a “neo-Nazi sociopath, who hates women”.

He met Republican figures considered candidates for roles in a Trump cabinet, including Mike Pompeo.

Lammy has close ties to Democratic leaders and is a close friend of former President Barack Obama, a fellow Harvard Law graduate.

THE COMMON CAUSE
In a speech during a visit there in May, Lammy said Labor would always work with the United States “regardless of the weather and whoever wins” and would seek to find “common cause” with Trump.

“I don’t think he’s arguing that the US should abandon Europe. He wants Europeans to do more to ensure a better-defended Europe,” he said.

“Was his office words shocking? Yes they were. Would we have used them? Not. But US European defense spending has actually increased under President Trump, as has the broader alliance’s defense spending during his tenure.”

Lammy, the son of Guyanese immigrants, represents an inner London constituency and has spent much of his political career campaigning for social and racial justice.

He backed Britain to stay in the European Union in the 2016 referendum. Although Labor has promised Britain will stay out of the bloc, he wants to reset the relationship and seek to deepen ties, including through a new security pact UK -EU.

Lammy has previously described Marine Le Pen, a leading figure in France’s far-right National Rally (NR), as xenophobic and malicious. Polls show her party is on track to win the most seats in France’s parliamentary elections, but falls short of an absolute majority.

“France is one of Britain’s closest allies and we will work with whoever is elected. It’s a democracy and it’s up to the French people to govern them,” Lammy told reporters earlier this week. “We’ll wait and see what happens in the second round on July 7.”

THE FIRST WOMAN CHANCELLOR

Rachel Reeves became Britain’s first female Chancellor of the Exchequer on Friday, and the junior chess champion’s opening principle will be to try to boost growth without sacrificing the party’s newly minted image of fiscal responsibility.

A former Bank of England economist, Reeves, 45, was tasked in opposition with repairing relations with the business community, which had been strained under former left-wing Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn, and proposing to voters that the party they could trust with their money.

Appointed in 2021 as Labour’s head of finance policy after a rocky start under new prime minister Keir Starmer, she has become synonymous with his approach of putting pragmatism ahead of ideology and standing up to those on the left who want a more relaxed approach on from a fiscal point of view.

With Labour’s landslide victory confirmed on Friday, she will now have to navigate a difficult fiscal picture and quickly boost growth if promised investment increases are to be delivered without tax rises.

She said it was the “honour of my life” and a “historic responsibility” to be the first woman to be appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer, as Britain’s most important economic and financial policymaker is called.

“We have waited a long time for the chance to serve our country. We now have a credible plan to bring about the change the country needs. Growing our economy is at the heart of this,” Reeves told reporters on the sidelines of the party’s manifesto launch in Manchester.

“The opportunity to be Britain’s first female Chancellor of the Exchequer – that would give me immense pride, but it would also give me a huge responsibility: to pass on to our daughters and our granddaughters a fairer society. That’s what I’m determined to do.”

Yvette Cooper becomes Home Secretary, known as the Home Secretary, overseeing Homeland Security and the Police.

Ed Miliband, who becomes Energy Security and Net Zero minister, led Labor in the 2015 election, which the party lost by an unexpectedly wide margin, triggering his resignation.

Since then, he has rebuilt his political career around environmental and climate issues.

Miliband will play a central role in delivering Labour’s plan to make Britain a “clean energy superpower” by creating a publicly owned energy company with powers to invest in new green projects alongside the private sector.

Angela Rayner, whom Starmer appointed as deputy prime minister, will also serve as secretary for equalization, housing and communities.

* With Reuters, AFP and AP

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