‘Why side with Russia?’ Lammy rages at Stop the War chief over group’s Putin stance

Ukraine: Lammy grills John Rees on NATO expansion argument

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The Stop The War coalition, which was initially launched to oppose US military action in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, says it stands against what it describes as Britain’s “disastrous addiction to war”. But it has repeatedly come under fire for alleged anti-Western sentiments. LBC presenter David Lammy said: “The reason I’m challenging you a bit on NATO expansion is because that’s the frame Putin uses.

“You’re walking into the frame, aren’t you, that Russia uses. Why would you side with Russia?!”

Mr Rees added: “I’d be very happy, very happy indeed for Russian’s themselves to deal with the Putin regime.

“What I’m skeptical of, and I think that the last twenty years has proved my skepticism to be absolutely valid, is that when the West intervenes, it doesn’t improve the situation, it doesn’t result in democracy.

“In Afghanistan, we had a total and utter failure which has left the Taliban in charge just as they were on the day the war began.

“In Iraq, we made a terrible mess of it. In Libya, it turned into a disaster.”

It comes as Jeremy Corbyn now an independent MP, is a former chairman of the coalition, and was due to speak at a rally staged by the group on Thursday night, titled No War in Ukraine: Stop Nato Expansion.

In a stinging rebuke of its work, the leader of the opposition claimed the organisation is at best “naive”, and at worst a force bolstering those who threaten democracies.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also said Mr Corbyn was “wrong” about Nato, and Labour’s commitment to the alliance is “unshakeable”.

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Writing in The Guardian, he said the likes of the Stop the War coalition “are not benign voices for peace”.

“Nobody wants war.

“At first glance, some on the left may be sympathetic to those siren voices who condemn Nato,” he wrote.

“But to condemn Nato is to condemn the guarantee of democracy and security it brings, and which our allies in eastern and central Europe are relying on, as the sabre-rattling from Moscow grows ever louder.”

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He added: “That’s why the likes of the Stop the War coalition are not benign voices for peace. At best they are naive; at worst they actively give succour to authoritarian leaders who directly threaten democracies.

“There is nothing progressive in showing solidarity with the aggressor when our allies need our solidarity and, crucially, our practical assistance, now more than ever.

“The kneejerk reflex, ‘Britain, Canada, the United States, France, wrong; their enemies, right’, is unthinking conservatism at its worst.

“To truly stop war, you need to show you are serious about standing up for peace, that you are serious about keeping your promises to your friends, and that you will always stand up to those who threaten.”

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