This week Bath MP, Wera Hobhouse, led a parliamentary debate on ‘Global Human Security’ asking Government to rethink the way we approach risk and defence.
Bath’s MP secured the debate on behalf of a local peace group with whom she has been working closely for many months.
Opening the debate Wera Hobhouse said, “After the extraordinary experience of the pandemic we have lived through this past year, we need an honest discussion about the threats that put all lives at risk.” During her speech, Ms Hobhouse called on Government to introduce a more long-term approach to defence spending including adopting the ‘Wellbeing on Future Generations’ Bill tabled by Caroline Lucas and a ‘wellbeing budget’ following the example set in New Zealand.
The debate, led by Ms Hobhouse, saw contributions from across the House, including speeches from Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, Conservative MP Anthony Mangal, and the Liberal Democrat MP Jamie Stone. Minister James Cleverly responded saying that the Government is focused on “building global partnerships and securing the opportunities we need to tackle global challenges”.
Local Peace Campaigner Diana Francis said:
“Wera really got to the heart of human security and the cooperative, holistic approach that is needed to address the major global threats to it that are now all too apparent - most obviously the growing environmental disaster that threatens all our lives, of which Covid-19 is just one devastating symptom. Her promotion of a Future Generations Bill was welcome and timely.
“She argued convincingly that the Government's focus, in its Integrated Security Review, on competition and contest is not the answer to the daily needs of people here and around the world, and the planet on which all depend. She pointed to the shame of its reneging on its aid commitments, as well as to the inequalities and insecurities that blight many lives in the UK. Her critique of the Government's Integrated Security Review also included her condemnation of the 40% increase in Britain's nuclear warheads, in contravention of its legal commitments under the Non-Proliferation Treaty to reduce its nuclear weapons.
“I can't tell you how relieved and delighted I am to have, for the first time in my life, such a responsive and courageous MP: someone who listens and is prepared to act, if necessary swimming against the tide. We desperately need more people like her in politics.”
Following the debate Wera Hobhouse said:
“I am pleased to hear that the Government is committed to challenging our assumptions about global security. This commitment must be followed by action. We need to start making policy with a long-term vision in mind, understanding that the greatest threats we face as a nation are posed by the climate emergency, worsening global inequality, and health crisis just as we have seen with Covid-19.”
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