Labour’s Lisa Nandy is at the centre of a new row over ‘wokery’ after praising a report which suggested replacing Britain’s Armed Forces with a ‘gender-balanced human security’ corps.
The Shadow Foreign Secretary faced ridicule after helping to launch a report by the Open Labour group which said the main job of the forces should be to ‘dampen down violence rather than intervene on one side or the other’.
Ms Nandy, 41, said she was ‘inspired’ by the pamphlet, which included the argument that that ‘the UK is no longer a great power’ and cited ‘countries like [the] Scandinavians’ as a model for the UK’s role in the world.
She told last month’s launch: ‘I hear it a lot on the Tory benches, this idea of a country that ruled the waves.
'Rule Britannia… I think that’s given way to a nostalgia rooted in the history of the Second World War that somehow says that we’re a small island nation that goes out punching above its weight, without ever really stopping to ask why on earth it is that we’re punching at all.’
Labour’s Lisa Nandy (pictured) is at the centre of a new row over ‘wokery’ after praising a report which suggested replacing Britain’s Armed Forces with a ‘gender-balanced human security’ corps
But last night, Ms Nandy faced a furious backlash from her own MPs.
Former Defence Minister and Durham MP Kevan Jones led the charge by branding the report ‘naive rubbish’ worthy of ‘refined middle-class dinner parties but which has no place in reality’.
Ms Nandy is already embroiled in a row over war leader Winston Churchill after she accused Boris Johnson of stoking a ‘culture war’ for criticising vandals who defaced his statue in Parliament Square.
Labour’s foreign affairs chief has also declared that Labour was seeking to emulate Biden and his ‘woke’ agenda.
In an email to party members, she said: ‘We’re looking across the water and we’re optimistic about what lies ahead. That’s where you come in… We want you with us, fighting for our future and for the moral force for good we know we can be in government.’
The Open Labour report, entitled A Progressive Foreign Policy for New Times, suggested there was a need to look at a radical transformation in the role of the British Army, Royal Navy and RAF.
The recommendations included: ‘Consider a real shift in the nature of our services from classic armed forces to what one might call human security services which would include the military but would also include police, engineers, aid workers, or health workers and would be gender balanced and ethnically diverse.
'Their central task would be to protect human security and in cases of war to dampen down violence rather than intervene on one side or the other.’
Ms Nandy, 41, said she was ‘inspired’ by the pamphlet, which included the argument that that ‘the UK is no longer a great power’. Picture: Stock of British Armed Forces
The document continued: ‘Human security is about the security of individuals and the communities in which they live rather than about the security of states and borders.’
Ms Nandy told the launch: ‘One of the things that I found really inspirational about this pamphlet is that I think it’s based on the beliefs that I also share.’
She added: ‘It feels to me this is exactly the right time when we are making the start of a new chapter… with the election as well of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in the US, this is the moment where the world is starting to look forward and we must look forwards too.’
Ms Nandy went on to tell the meeting that Labour had to not just oppose the Tories but show how Labour represented an alternative in foreign policy.
She said Labour should have the courage to ‘fly the pride flag at our embassies in countries where simply loving who we love is a crime, punishable often by death’ as well as to stand with democracy protesters in Hong Kong and the Black Lives Matter activists in the US.
Former Defence Minister and Durham MP Kevan Jones (pictured) led the charge by branding the report ‘naive rubbish’
Labour MPs in the North privately reminded Ms Nandy, MP for Wigan, that traditional Labour voters needed to hear a stronger signal of the party’s patriotism.
North Durham MP Mr Jones told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Our Armed Forces are there to defend us, sometimes in very challenging circumstances.
'As a party, Labour should be proud of them and defend them – not seek to turn them into some sort of peace corps that “dampens down” violence.
‘Before we start talking this nonsense, we should remember that many of the recruits come from northern, working-class roots in constituencies that are – or used to be – Labour strongholds.’
Labour sought to defuse the row by saying Ms Nandy had not endorsed the report – and stressing the report was not party policy.
A spokesman said: ‘We are immensely proud of the role our Armed Forces play in keeping our country safe, in upholding our values and in defending the rights of people around the world.’