Furious Emily Thornberry unleashes new Brexit attack as she blasts Boris for ruining UK

Labour Conference 2021: Chair 'curtailing debate' says guest

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Speaking at a Stronger Together fringe event today, the shadow international trade secretary was asked about the Conservatives’ confidence on the world stage. She responded: “I actually don’t think they are. I think the bombast and waving flags and shouting loudly and saying ‘Britain’s best’ is actually symptomatic of a country that is not confident, that has lost its way, that doesn’t understand its place in the world.

“If we were truly confident, we would have a little bit of humility, and we would understand that we can be a force for good in this world because we are ultimately internationalists – we always have been, and we are proudly so.”

Ms Thornberry’s comments come as the Government is signing trade deals with countries around the world following the UK’s departure from the EU.

So far, the UK has signed trade agreements with 69 countries and one with the EU.

During her speech to the fringe event, the Labour cabinet minister claimed the Tory party “cannot make its mind up from one week to another whether it wants to build a trade and investment policy with China, or it wants to be part of a strategic alliance against China”.

She said: “We see no consistency with the government, no consistency or coherence in their vision, no confidence in their delivery and therefore we have no confidence in the way they’re leading us towards the world we want to see.”

Her words echo the sentiments of a recent policy paper published by the event’s host Stronger Together – which is chaired by former shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds and develops Labour’s foreign policy.

In ‘Britain in 2030: Stronger Together for Britain in the world’, the Labour chapter attacked the Conservative Government for leaving the country with “dwindling influence abroad”.

There is “no sense that they are prepared for the challenges of the coming decade such as the continued rise of China as an economic superpower”, they said, despite the recent announcement of a military alliance between the UK, US and Australia – widely seen as an attempt to counter China.

The Government is also in negotiations currently to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a free trade agreement between pacific nations including New Zealand, Japan, and Mexico.

“The Conservatives’ foreign policy has failed to defend the interests of people across our four nations and has undermined support for the union itself,” they claimed in the policy paper, released just ahead of the start of the Labour conference.

“They have taken a needlessly antagonistic approach to negotiations with Europe [sic], too often reciprocated by the other side, which has cost us all.”

Ms Thornberry asked the event’s audience: “Who is going to lead our country down the right path over the next ten years? Who is going to provide the leadership on the global stage that is going to build the better world we all want to see?”

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She then answered: “We all know the answer is certainly not the Tory party, which has wasted the opportunities that the presidency of the G7 has given it, and is getting ready to do the same thing when it comes to COP[26].

“You may remember at the beginning of this year, one of the little flourishes that Boris Johnson has passed out as he always does, was this was supposed to be the year of Britain’s international leadership. How’s it going, Boris?”

The Conservative Party was contacted for comment.

During the event, another panellist, senior international officer at the TUC Mariela Kohon argued that “many of the countries where workers’ rights are being abused, we see a convergence of authoritarianism, of conflict, and where the UK is negotiating or has trade deals.”

During her speech, she made reference to Brazil, Columbia, China, Palestine and East Africa. The UK has not yet agreed or ratified a trade deal with Brazil, Columbia or China.

The shadow international trade secretary did have some fond words for the Prime Minister, despite referring to him as a “clown” at one point.

Asked if there was anything the Tories could be proud of, Ms Thornberry replied: “One thing that I think that the Tories have done well; I think that they’ve prioritised women’s education.

“They understand that when they educate girls, you raise the whole community.

“Actually that’s one thing that Boris Johnson seems to kind of have got his head round. He’s now cutting it, but I think he kind of got it.”

Last Friday, during a trip to Mexico, the new Foreign Secretary Liz Truss met with campaigners “dedicated to stopping violence against women”.

She tweeted that her government would “stand up for women and girls” by ensuring “quality” education, ending sexual violence and female genital mutilation, and “tackling domestic abuse”.

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