Labour MP urged to apologise after backing statement criticising NATO expansionism

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Calls have been made for a Labour MP to apologise after putting his name on a statement which criticised NATO expansionism.

Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery was among 11 Labour MPs who had added their name to the document drawn up by the Stop the War group last week.

It is understood the Labour chief whip, Tynemouth MP Alan Campbell, wrote to the 11 MPs asking them to remove their signatures or risk losing the party whip.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Stop the War statement, which accuses the UK government of “sabre-rattling” over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, also criticises it for saying Ukraine has a right to join NATO if it wishes.

Ian Lavery, MP for Wansbeck, has withdrawn his signature from a Stop the War statement criticising Nato.Ian Lavery, MP for Wansbeck, has withdrawn his signature from a Stop the War statement criticising Nato.
Ian Lavery, MP for Wansbeck, has withdrawn his signature from a Stop the War statement criticising Nato.

It says the alliance “should call a halt to its eastward expansion and commit to a new security deal for Europe which meets the needs of all states and peoples,” adding: “We refute the idea that NATO is a defensive alliance, and believe its record in Afghanistan, Yugoslavia and Libya over the last generation, not to mention the US-British attack on Iraq, clearly proves otherwise.”

Mr Lavery said this week his solidarity with Ukraine went back decades, but Conservative Jack Gebhard has called on him to apologise for supporting the statement.

Mr Gebhard, Parliamentary candidate for Wansbeck in the 2019 General Election, said: “Following Putin’s invasion of Ukraine it is clear we are dealing with a tyrant and it is clear that the 13 Labour MPs and ‘independent’ MPs have chosen to be on the wrong side of history in backing the warmonger.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“The issue of Ukraine seems to have united the populist left wing of politics and the populist right, with Nigel Farage taking the same approach as Jerermy Corbyn, Zarah Sultana and Ian Lavery.

"Some of those have tried to backtrack but for those of us who could see what Putin was planning from day one it is now time to ask those in positions of responsibility to admit they were wrong and apologise for siding with Putin as he was gearing up for an invasion of a sovereign nation, with innocent people as the casualties.

“What we’re seeing play out in Ukraine is a genuinely human tragedy.

"It was so obvious what Putin was planning but for some reason the left wing of the Labour Party took the situation as another opportunity to attack Britain and our values.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“I hope that Ian sees sense and apologised for adding his signature to a letter that was clearly designed to blame NATO for ratcheting up tension, when actually it is Putin who has been creating the grounds for an invasion of Ukraine in the name of Russia.”

Mr Lavery said: “My solidarity with the people of Ukraine extend back decades since I visited the country in the early 90s and a full statement of my position can be found on my website.

"It is very disappointing that in an extremely serious conflict already plagued by Russian misinformation that Tory politicians and elements of the British press are themselves engaging in foul play.

“Perhaps rather than spread malicious mistruths, local Conservatives should explain the murky financial links that exist between their party and those with close ties to the Russian regime, including Putin himself.

"It is no secret that tens of thousands of pounds has found its way into the coffers of local MP's funnelled in from those with close ties.”

Related topics: