Global Justice Now’s reaction to new ministerial appointments
UK parliament

Global Justice Now’s reaction to new ministerial appointments

Date: 8 July 2024
Campaigns: General

On David Lammy’s appointment to foreign secretary, Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now said:

“The new government steps into power at a time when distrust toward the ‘West’ from the majority of the world is at an all-time high, a consequence of obscene double standards over Covid-19 vaccines, the green transition, and, most blatantly, Israel’s war crimes in Gaza. Bridging this mistrust means enacting truly transformative policies to redistribute power and wealth, even if this upsets vested interests.

“After years of foreign policy driven by imperial fantasy, David Lammy’s promise to reconnect with Global South countries as a genuine partner is welcome, but it will require more radical policies than he has put on the table to date. Moreover, there is no road to rebuilding global cooperation that does not run through Gaza – as a minimum, the new Foreign Secretary must urgently introduce an arms embargo on Israel if he wants to be taken seriously by the global majority.”

On Wes Streeting’s appointment to health secretary, Tim Bierley, campaigner at Global Justice Now said:

“As the NHS struggles with a record-breaking drugs bill and dangerous medicines shortages globally, Wes Streeting urgently needs to develop a plan to address the failing pharma industry.  Health and profit has always been a toxic mix, but this has been turbo-charged under the Tories. Patent monopolies have given pharma companies tyrannical power to overcharge the NHS, withhold Covid-19 vaccine recipes from countries in the global south, and even decide to simply end the supply of some vital medicines.

“Labour’s new ‘mission-driven’ approach to medicines production must make sure that the publicly funded research that pharma companies depend on translates into much cheaper drugs. But Labour must also be ambitious in supporting alternative models that are driven by clinical needs, not rapacious pursuit of profit – both in the UK and in the global south.”

On Ed Miliband’s appointment to energy secretary, Izzie McIntosh, climate campaigner at Global Justice Now said:

“The new government has been given a decisive mandate for transformative climate policy that could help hold back the climate crisis globally, while improving the UK’s spiralling living standards. If he is serious about this, Ed Miliband must make plans to tackle the morally bankrupt fossil fuel industry and its relentless profiteering.  The energy transition is a non-negotiable, but ordinary people cannot be left to foot the bill.

“Steps like backing calls for a global treaty to phase out fossil fuels quickly and fairly would prove this government is serious about global climate leadership, and ready to tackle the injustice of people in the UK and across the global south suffering while fossil fuel giants count their billions.”

On Jonathan Reynold’s appointment to trade secretary, Cleodie Rickard, trade campaigner at Global Justice Now said:

“While the Conservatives’ free trade dogma and post-Brexit optics meant courting any opportunity for a deal, Labour’s ‘securonomics’ promises a new approach to trade policy. Yet its plans lack both detail – with no nods to climate, human and workers’ rights in its manifesto, exemplified by no swerving from negotiations with India, the Gulf and Israel – and real structural change.

“Being a ‘green export superpower’ cannot mean cheaply and dirtily extracting critical minerals from the global south and selling them back expensive, patented technologies. We need transformations in the terms of trade for the genuine ‘respect and partnership’ Labour is promising with the global south: scrapping corporate courts and provisions restricting countries’ policy space, while wiring in technology transfer and binding safeguards for workers’ rights and justice for global communities.

“The very first step Jonathan Reynolds must take is creating modern and democratic processes for scrutiny of trade negotiations and policy – these decisions affecting all our lives, and which are critical to a globally just transition, can no longer carry on behind closed doors.”

On Ian Murray’s appointment to Scotland secretary, Liz Murray, head of Scottish campaigns at Global Justice Now said:

“With this new UK Government, people have voted for change. It’s no longer good enough that climate change targets are missed and that governments blame each other. So as Ian Murray takes up the role of Secretary of State for Scotland, it’s vital that he works with the Scottish Government to step up action on the climate emergency and that together they show leadership here in the UK and Scotland, by tackling the relentless profiteering of the fossil fuel industry, and internationally by backing a global treaty to phase out fossil fuels quickly and fairly around the world.”