UK election: Brussels Labour joins the campaign

On 6 May Britain goes to the polls to elect a new Parliament. To learn more about the policies of the different parties flandersnews has spoken to local representatives here in Brussels. To find out what a Labour victory would mean we turned to Belinda Pyke of Brussels Labour, a branch of the British Labour Party founded in 1973. Members are pictured here campaigning in London with Glenda Jackson.

The election will probably be won or lost on the economy. What is the Labour recipe for economic recovery and how does it differ from that of the Conservatives or the Lib Dems?

The economy is at the centre of this Election. Unlike the other parties, Labour’s pledges are to secure the recovery; raise family living standards; build a high tech economy; protect frontline services and strengthen fairness in communities. Labour made the right choice to invest through the recession to keep the economy moving and avoid choking off recovery. The Party is committed to halving the deficit over four years and it will do so in a sensible and fair way.

European policy has often been a divisive issue in British politics. Which priorities would a new Labour Government hope to realise in Europe?

Labour is not divided on the issue of the EU.

Labour will ensure that Britain remains at the heart of the European Union and use its strong voice to secure greater measures to fight back against the global recession, to secure the recovery and promote prosperity, protect against international crime, and tackle global challenges like poverty and climate change.

Belgians often marvel at the differences between the British and Belgian constitutional arrangements, the House of Lords, the electoral system. What are your party’s plans for constitutional change?

Labour is committed to a referendum early in the next parliament on whether to move to the Alternative Vote system for elections to the House of Commons;

to completing of reform of the House of Lords;

and to the full implementation of a new system of independent regulation of MPs pay, pensions and allowances.

What will be the priorities of a re-elected Labour Government in the field of international development and defence?

Labour knows that there is no greater responsibility than to commit our troops into action and so it takes its responsibilities in Afghanistan and to the Armed Forces so seriously. A stable Afghanistan and a stable Pakistan means a safer Britain and a safer world. A Strategic Defence Review will look at all areas of defence, but we will maintain our independent nuclear deterrent. Labour will fight for multilateral disarmament, working for a world free of nuclear weapons, in the Non Proliferation Treaty Review conference and beyond – combining support for civilian nuclear energy with concerted action against proliferation. Labour wants to reform the UN, International Financial Institutions, the G8 and G20, and NATO to adapt to the new global challenges.

Labour will continue to ensure Britain remains a world leader in fighting global poverty because we believe that everybody, no matter where they are born, should have the same chances in life. Tackling global poverty is both morally right, and in our common interest in an increasingly interdependent world.

Labour may not win an outright victory. A coalition government would be something of a novelty in Britain. Would such a format work for Labour and do you think Gordon Brown would want to lead such an administration?

The voters will make their choice based on leadership, record and resilience.