Starmer hits out at Trump's 'bad faith' Nato comments, but stresses Labour will work with whoever wins US presidency

17 February 2024, 23:16 | Updated: 17 February 2024, 23:22

Sir Keir Starmer has hit out at Donald Trump's 'bad faith' comments on Nato - but stressed Labour would work with whoever wins the presidency if the party is elected into power
Sir Keir Starmer has hit out at Donald Trump's 'bad faith' comments on Nato - but stressed Labour would work with whoever wins the presidency if the party is elected into power. Picture: Alamy

By Christian Oliver

Sir Keir Starmer has hit out at Donald Trump's 'bad faith' comments on Nato - but stressed Labour would work with whoever wins the presidency if the party is elected into power.

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The Labour leader was meeting with world leaders in Germany on Saturday at the Munich Security Conference, including the country's Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Starmer relayed to world leaders he would “rebuild, renew and resource” the Nato alliance, The Telegraph reported, and would not "divide and threaten" the union.

It comes after Republican frontrunner Trump, who currently leads Joe Biden in the polls for the US presidency, said he would not protect" any Nato country that did not meet its military spending commitment of two per cent of its GDP.

Trump said he would instead "encourage them (Russia) to do whatever they want."

Sir Keir Starmer with Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar (centre) and the new Labour MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West Michael Shanks (left), Saturday
Sir Keir Starmer with Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar (centre) and the new Labour MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West Michael Shanks (left), Saturday. Picture: Alamy

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Speaking to the Telegraph in Munch after his meetings, Starmer said: “I made clear to leaders that a Britain I lead will always stand up for our allies, even if others threaten not to."

In light of Trump's controversial comments last weekend, Starmer continued: "We must rebuild, renew, and resource, not divide and threaten. Bad faith politics risks our security.”

However, Sir Keir still stressed that a Labour government under his leadership would work with whoever becomes the next president.

The Labour leader also met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken - currently part of Biden's cabinet - and Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani - who has been acting as a mediator in negotiations between Hamas and Israel.

In a post on X, Starmer said he and Blinken discussed the crisis in the Middle East.

"The relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom is so valuable, for mutual economic and national security," he said.

Starmer visited Munich with shadow foreign secretary David Lammy and shadow defence secretary John Healey.

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump gestures to the crowd at an event popular among sneaker collectors, Philadelphia, Saturday
Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump gestures to the crowd at an event popular among sneaker collectors, Philadelphia, Saturday. Picture: Alamy

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Sir Keir, speaking to BBC News, was pressed on fears in some capitals that Trump's return to the White House could usher in an era of American isolationism.

It came after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a fresh appeal to Western capitals, especially Washington, to ensure aid keeps flowing to Kyiv in the fight against Russia.

Sir Keir said: "One of the issues that everybody here in the Munich Security Conference is discussing is what the various elections across the globe will mean for security in the future.

"And I think there is a feeling that the challenge will enhance as we go forward, and that Europe needs to stand together and talk about the defence - not just now but for the future.

"Now, obviously, as you would expect, if we're elected into government, we will deal with whoever the American people choose to be their president. But of course, we redouble our commitment to Nato.

"That's one of the reasons I'm here in Munich, talking about the challenges not just of today but tomorrow and how the UK can play its full part in that."

Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron has been among the senior politicians at the conference, with senior Tory MPs also in attendance.

Attendees have been left reeling at the death of jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, with US Vice President Kamala Harris and German Chancellor Scholz among those in attendance.

Healey is expected to hold a series of bilateral meetings with Nato officials, defence ministers and US senators as part of the visit, while Mr Lammy will be taking part in a panel discussion on Sunday.

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