Government ‘bombast’ shows lack of confidence in foreign policy – Thornberry

·2-min read
Emily Thornberry (Jacob King/PA) (PA Archive)
Emily Thornberry (Jacob King/PA) (PA Archive)

Boris Johnson has been labelled a “clown” who has no confidence in his own foreign policy aims.

Shadow frontbencher Emily Thornberry told a fringe event at Labour’s annual conference in Brighton that the Tories would not be the party to “lead our country down the right path” on the global stage in the next decade.

And that the “bombast and waving flags” from the Government indicated ministers were not secure in their belief in Britain’s place internationally.

Ms Thornberry said a Labour government would learn lessons from the pandemic and apply those to foreign policy.

The shadow international trade secretary said: “Who is going to lead our country down the right path over the next 10 years? Who is going to revive the leadership on the global stage which will help build the better world that we all want to see?”

She added: “We all know the answer is certainly not the Tory party, which has wasted the opportunity that the presidency of G7 has given it and is getting ready to do the same thing when it comes to (climate change summit) Cop.

“You may remember at the beginning of this year one of the little flourishes that Boris Johnson just casts out, as he always does, was that this was supposed to be the year of Britain’s international leadership.

“Well, how’s it going Boris?”

Ms Thornberry said the Government had “no consistency” in its foreign policy aims and therefore she had “no confidence” in ministers’ ability to deliver it.

She said: “It cannot make up its mind from one week to another whether it wants to build a trade and investment policy with China or if it wants to be part of a strategic alliance against China.”

Emily Thornberry (Jacob King/PA) (PA Archive)
Emily Thornberry (Jacob King/PA) (PA Archive)

And she added that “we have no confidence that they will lead us towards a world we want to see”.

She said: “I think the bombast and waving flags and shouting loudly and saying ‘Britain is best’ is actually symptomatic of a country that is not competent, that has lost its way, that doesn’t understand its place in the world.

“And if we were truly confident, we would have a little bit of humility as well, that we would understand that we can be a force for good in this world because we are ultimately internationalist.

“We always have been and we are proudly so.

“We are like the clever little brother or sister who advises the world, and people always turn to Britain and say: ‘Oh, what does Britain think?’ Or at least they have done until a few years ago, when we ended up with the clown that was our foreign secretary, who is now our Prime Minister.”

She added: “But it doesn’t have to be this way. There is another way.”

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