UK foreign policy would change under a Labour government to one that “reduces rather than increases the threat” to the country, Jeremy Corbyn has said.
He said experts had linked British involvement in wars to terrorism “at home”, as election campaigns resumed after the Manchester attack.
The Labour Leader pledged a “change at home and change abroad” if Labour wins power – with a new foreign policy approach and more money for police, the NHS and security services.
But he added: “An informed understanding of the causes of terrorism is an essential part of an effective response that will protect the security of our people. That fights rather than fuels terrorism.”
He said that “many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed out the connections between wars that we have been involved in, or supported, or fought, in other countries and terrorism here at home”.
But he added: “That assessment in no way reduces the guilt of those who attack our children. Those terrorists will forever be reviled and implacably held to account for their actions.”
“The blame is with the terrorists, but if we are to protect our people we must be honest about what threatens our security.”
However he said that the causes “certainly cannot be reduced to foreign policy decisions alone” and said the prison system, where a “sub culture of often suicidal violence” had developed among “a tiny minority” of young men was also in need of “resources and reform”.
Mr Corbyn also said that a Labour government would fund more police and ensure the security services had sufficient resources “to keep track of those who wish to murder and maim”.
On deploying British troops, he said he would tell them: “Under my leadership, you will only be deployed abroad when there is a clear need and only when there is a plan that you have the resources to do your job and secure an outcome that delivers lasting peace”.
Mr Corbyn, who opposed UK military intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan, and voted against strikes in Libya and Syria, said: “We must be brave enough to admit the ‘war on terror’ is simply not working. We need a smarter way to reduce the threat from countries that nurture terrorists and generate terrorism.”
But he added: “Do not doubt my determination to take whatever action is necessary to keep our country safe”.
Former MI5 chief Baroness Manningham-Buller told the Iraq Inquiry in 2010 that the 2003 invasion of Iraq had “undoubtedly increased” the terror threat to the UK and had radicalised “a few among a generation who saw our involvement in Iraq, on top of our involvement in Afghanistan, as being an attack on Islam”.
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