UK Opposition Leaders To NDTV. Full Transcript


NDTV Dialogues: Much We Can Do Together In A Dangerous World: UK Opposition Leaders To NDTV. Full Transcript

In a wide-ranging, unique interview with NDTV on Tuesday, shadow overseas secretary David Lammy and the shadow enterprise and commerce secretary, Jonathan Reynolds, additionally spoke concerning the Labour Social gathering’s assist for the delayed India-UK Free Commerce Settlement and India’s transformation previously 20 years. 

The 2 senior leaders from the opposition Labour Social gathering are on a three-day go to to India to talk to senior ministers in addition to enterprise leaders. Stating that India is a “enormous powerhouse”, the leaders careworn the significance of the UK-India relationship, calling it a deep people-to-people connection spanning generations.

Right here is the total transcript of the dialogue:

NDTV: Hi there and welcome to the NDTV Dialogues. Half of the world’s inhabitants is voting this yr, India after all in a number of months and likewise america and the UK. Polls in the UK are giving the Labour Social gathering a successful lead after 14 years within the opposition and outreach to construct a brand new UK-India Strategic Partnership are two of Labour’s senior politicians, the shadow International Secretary David Lammy, and the shadow Enterprise and Commerce Secretary Jonathan Reynolds. Thanks each very a lot for being on the NDTV Dialogues.

The timing of this go to is basically fascinating for us. We have now obtained an election countdown in India, and maybe polls within the UK by autumn or positively by January subsequent yr. Why did you select this time to return? You have talked about constructing a brand new UK-India Strategic Partnership, which Labour has proposed. Why do you assume this was the proper time?

David Lammy: Properly, the very first thing to say is that the connection between the UK and India transcends whoever is in authorities. This is a crucial strategic relationship, a historical past that goes again many generations, a deep people-to-people and business-to-business connection. In fact, I am right here with Jonathan to underline that. It is also the case that if there’s to be a change of presidency, and if we’ve got the privilege to serve, we should perceive the views of our Indian pals, enterprise and business, and the place the alternatives are to go ahead. And the important thing message that I wish to go away with folks is that ‘development, development, development’, is our goal within the Labour Social gathering. If we’ve got the privilege to serve, then we’ve got to recognise that India, an enormous powerhouse, a rising economic system, with a rising inhabitants, a development towards the backdrop, the place different elements of the world and positively in Europe aren’t seeing something like the expansion, there are key alternatives for us going ahead. Sure, we’re engaged on a commerce deal. However that’s the ground of our relationship, not the ceiling. There’s way more to do within the years forward.

NDTV: That is fascinating, due to course, one Tory Prime Minister in the past we have been instructed {that a} UK-India FTA could be in place by that Diwali. We have got, we handed these Diwalis. There’s one other one developing. And your chief, Keir Starmer, described it as a ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham’ state of affairs within the UK-India FTA. What do you see as the foremost hurdles? And what would Labour do to repair that in case it isn’t signed earlier than the subsequent election?

Jonathan Reynolds: Properly, lots of people have promised a commerce deal by sure dates, however we’re right here partly as a result of as you say, the character of an election in India and one within the UK means there’s, I do know some fear about how that timescale may impression these negotiations. We have come to clarify that if the Labour Social gathering varieties the subsequent authorities within the UK, that is one thing we assist. We’d wish to implement or proceed these negotiations. In fact, for each side, it will be an excellent deal. It may work commercially. However there are areas the place we are able to see the potential for that to be one thing very vital certainly, and naturally, for the UK to be…

NDTV: Which areas would you see these as?

Jonathan Reynolds: Properly, I believe on the coronary heart of that, you’ve got obtained a possibility clearly. You’d count on to scale back tariffs in sure areas like textiles in India which is especially vital. The one which’s usually given within the UK is, after all, scotch and whiskey. However that is only one space the place we are able to see that enchancment. Companies entry is essential. Now, how can we do this? That tends to be a tougher a part of negotiations. However alongside that, the funding treaty that is been mentioned, these are issues that we actually may. Now, we do not wish to go into shallow negotiations that weren’t a part of that. However I believe we each recognise what a major alternative this could possibly be. However I wish to reiterate what my colleague David has mentioned as a result of folks should not assume that we simply wish to end this commerce deal and get it carried out irrespective of how vital it might be. And that is the top. There’s a complete vary of additional areas for collaboration. We have talked to folks about know-how, defence and the collaboration on the inexperienced transition may imply, not only for India and the UK, however for the remainder of the world. It is a collaboration that we may do collectively, that might have such a optimistic and helpful impression. And I discover that personally very thrilling.

NDTV: Now, in a way, the India-UK relationship has modified. One side, after all, is that we overtook Nice Britain to turn out to be the world’s fifth-largest economic system. We’re aiming now for the third-largest economic system by 2030. How a lot do you assume that is modified the way in which the 2 companions view one another, even negotiate with one another? And the truth that geopolitically additionally, India has taken a way more vocal function as chief of the World South, when it comes to asking for reform of multilateral establishments just like the United Nations Safety Council. The place do you see the brand new energy stability? And the place does the UK precisely stand in that?

David Lammy: Properly, I welcome the place that India finds itself in as one of many world’s nice, massive democracies. That’s massively necessary. The degrees of development right here, the rising, burgeoning center class, the gripping of schooling and expertise and the dynamism of the economic system are exemplary. There’s a lot to be taught. I believe as I come right here, and I’ve now visited India on many events, I bear in mind certainly one of my first journeys 22 years in the past, as a younger minister in Tony Blair’s authorities, and the transition has been immense. Let me simply say, after all, we assist India becoming a member of the UN Safety Council alongside Germany, Japan, Brazil, and Africa as properly, very, crucial, certainly. The world is altering and multilateral partnerships are important. And in that sense, India stays and can proceed to be a key companion of the UK and our allies. We have now an extended historical past. There’s a lot that we are able to do collectively in a harmful world. And I am very happy to be assembly together with your International Secretary, as soon as once more on this journey, but additionally to talk to your nationwide safety as properly, concerning the problems with shared concern.

NDTV: I simply wished to convey up overseas coverage as a result of, after all, with Labour and I believe that within the sense did bitter our relationships between Labour and the Indian International Ministry when Jeremy Corbyn had mentioned at the moment that he helps a proposal for an unbiased Kashmir. Now, after all, Keir Starmer has since corrected that. However do make clear for us what Labour’s stand is on Kashmir and likewise one other sticking level with the UK and India has been the response to Khalistani protests final yr on the Indian Excessive Fee, and likewise the truth that the Sikhs for Justice routinely points threats towards Indian political leaders, and we really feel that the UK response may have been stronger. What does Labour assume?

David Lammy: Properly, let me reiterate some fundamentals right here. First, Jeremy Corbyn is just not within the Labour Social gathering any longer. We have now had dramatic modifications because the 2019 election, led by Keir Starmer, and that’s necessary to stress. And that has put us ready the place, as soon as once more, we hope to have the privilege of serving in a authorities. The second is to sentence solely the extremist and harmful behaviour we noticed in relation to the Indian Excessive Fee in London, I used to be fairly strong in my feedback on the time, and I am blissful to reiterate that once more, we completely need to have zero tolerance of any extremist behaviour. And that features extremist components of the Khalistani neighborhood, completely. However it’s additionally to be clear that the overwhelming majority of Sikhs in our personal nation and right here in India are peace-loving folks. And it’s to underline that the problems of Kashmir are advanced, 75 years previous and past, they’re centrally points for India, Pakistan and the Kashmiri folks. And we perceive that within the British Labour Social gathering.

NDTV: What do you again, as an example, India has already known as SFJ a terrorist organisation. Would you name for stronger motion towards teams which name for assassination threats towards Indian political leaders from UK soil?

David Lammy: I’ve not obtained the intelligence as a member of the UK opposition, however I do condemn solely extremist behaviour from wherever it comes from. We have now to be strong about that. While after all recognizing that the Labour Social gathering is an internationalist occasion it is a occasion that believes in human rights. However we can’t have any truck with violence or extremism from wherever it is discovered.

NDTV: Let me ask you, Mr. Reynolds, and also you talked concerning the companies sector. And one factor I believe, has bothered many Indians, is the truth that with Indians, the mobility side, due to course, you see, Indian college students are actually amongst the best worldwide pupil inhabitants in the UK. However we hear this anti-immigration rhetoric, which for many individuals borders on the racist, whether or not it got here from Suella Braverman, or earlier than that, the previous House Secretary. How is Labour going to really fight that? And what is going to your view be on condition that immigration is such a political scorching button within the UK elections?

Jonathan Reynolds: Properly, look, I need everybody to know the way a lot we worth the connection between India and the UK. The truth that while you’re right here on a delegation, so many individuals inform you that they studied within the UK or lived there for some time, what an incredible foundation for a powerful relationship. And naturally, whether or not it’s folks coming for greater schooling, whether or not it’s Indian corporations, or entrepreneurs investing within the UK, we essentially welcomed that. Now the UK has a points-based immigration system, it is a system that’s designed to serve one of the best pursuits of the UK economic system. And we’re very comfy speaking about the advantages that that brings. It is clearly one which has restrictions constructed into it. That is the character of a points-based system. And I would not, it might upset me if I believed that anybody
thinks that the UK wasn’t welcoming, that I hope folks will see a special method, can see the totally different method that we convey from the Labour Social gathering to that.

NDTV: Did you discover that a number of the latest rhetoric getting used was racist?

Jonathan Reynolds: I believe a whole lot of what we have seen from the Conservative authorities on immigration, how they’ve tackled this, sure. How they essentially I believe, despatched out a message that is likely to be unwelcoming, it’s a problem, it’s a downside. You recognize, and I believe if I look to the way forward for whether or not the UK can play a task within the international economic system, that may be very a lot to the pursuits of ourselves within the UK, it is via championing our strengths, championing the issues that we’re good at, and better schooling is a part of that. And we’re simply way more comfy on the Labour aspect and recognising that profit. And I hope folks can see the totally different change of tone and method that we’ll convey to that. In fact, there have gotten to be limits on immigration. However that is what a Factors-Primarily based System is designed to do, to serve the curiosity of your economic system. And I can say from full sincerity that the connection that has meant for it, whether or not it is Indian college students coming into companies coming to the UK, we see as an unreservedly optimistic and welcoming factor.

NDTV: We speak, we speak so usually a multicultural Britain and I believe that since Prime Minister Sunak grew to become Prime Minister was seen as a reason behind celebration in India as properly. However how do you assume Labour will, as a result of, after all, we have seen that Labour’s assist amongst the Indian neighborhood in Nice Britain, the most important ethnic minority in Nice Britain has fallen dramatically. I believe 2019 polls confirmed it is now about 30%, virtually half from what it was as soon as at 60%. How would you fight a proud Hindu Prime Minister, versus a Labour Prime Minister?

David Lammy: Properly, let me say that I and the Labour Social gathering additionally took nice consolation and pleasure within the election of Rishi Sunak as the primary UK Prime Minister of Indian origin, and that is private to me. My household, my father, arrived within the UK from Guyana in 1956. My mom’s grandmother was from Calcutta. She arrived in Guyana as an indentured employee after the top of slavery within the century earlier than final. So, look, our historical past is immense. And I am, that is why it is at all times fantastic for me to return again to India, you recognize, there’s tons that I, the curries are one thing that I’ve grown up with all of my life.

Look, I believe that the connection between the UK and India supersedes whoever is in Quantity 10 or working India and I do know you’ve got obtained elections forward as a result of it is an necessary relationship. It is an necessary partnership, not only a win-win for our two economies, however for the worldwide neighborhood. And so we are going to struggle for each election and there are areas of the nation I am pondering of, Harrow and Brent, the place there are historic Indian populations, voting Labour, and we’ll be preventing to encourage them to try this. That is why we’re right here interviewing with you.

NDTV: And naturally, I wish to ask Mr. Reynolds since you’re speaking about credit score enterprise funding, however the newest Labour assault on the Prime Minister has been about so-called allegations of VIP entry to Infosys. Now on condition that Infosys is the largest, certainly one of our largest software program companies suppliers, is not it awfully counterproductive, that when something to do with Infosys is seen as Rishi Sunak’s household getting desire, or VIP entry, because the Labour places it?

Jonathan Reynolds: We do wish to see higher enterprise funding within the UK, we expect that the hyperlink between our poor, enterprise investments at current underneath the Conservative physique pertains to our poor productiveness. And that has come via in a really disappointing approach to development now for fairly a while. So all of our agenda relies on doing that. And significantly clearly, we wish to entice inward funding to the UK to make that story

NDTV: Together with Infosys, I assume.

Jonathan Reynolds: Properly, each firm, whether or not it’s from world wide globally, significantly due to the function of Indian funding within the UK, this can be a actually necessary factor to us. Now, all we wish is to be open, clear, and accessible to everybody. So it isn’t about anybody specific firm. However there are considerations within the UK about what has been described because the VIP enjoying round together with your corporations who have been launched across the pandemic. Certainly, a wholesome, strong system must be about open alternatives for everybody. That is why we’re speaking to everybody. Whereas we’re right here, we’re telling them about alternatives within the power transition within the companies sector {and professional} monetary companies. We wish that to be open to everybody. That’s all we ask. And that’s all we are going to put ahead. However we’re assured that our agenda is a greater one for enterprise funding within the UK.

NDTV: Although, after all, it does generally appear private about Mr Sunak, as a result of on condition that Labour has additionally mentioned that you simply wish to abolish the Non-dom tax. And that, after all, grew to become an argument round his spouse Akshata, which she was later cleared of. So it does seem to be it turns into a bit private and political then.

Jonathan Reynolds: Modifications are proposed, modifications to that individual tax regime, not about one any individual in any respect. We have made clear, our shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves repeatedly says, all we ask is when you have made the UK your own home, you pay the suitable quantity of tax within the UK that it is best to do. And naturally, we recognise the old style Non-dom regime which we wish to change, would should be changed by one thing the place folks within the UK for a brief interval would pay an applicable degree of taxation on their UK earnings just like each different nation on this planet. However folks will know that the historical past of the Non-dom regime goes again a very long time, to an period that’s now not applicable, and there are considerations about a complete vary of individuals ensuring they’re paying the proper degree of tax within the UK. All that coverage is designed to do is to place that proper, and provides folks confidence that that’s the regime we’ve got, it’s not focused or based mostly on any type of political assault on anybody. It is about ensuring we’ve got a good, strong and clear course of. And when folks increase considerations concerning the total degree of taxation within the UK, we are saying we recognise that. The explanation taxes are excessive by historic requirements within the UK is that development has been so low. So once more, that comes again to our agenda about development, about alternative, about rising the economic system and decreasing that burden in future.

NDTV: Okay, so you may be right here additionally and we have got another England friends right here. The English Cricket staff and we allow them to win one check match. Are you following that? And what do you say about it, as a result of some areas are at all times delicate and cricket is certainly one of them?

David Lammy: Properly, I grew up watching cricket. I grew up cheering additionally for the West Indies the place they gained however watching nice, nice Indian cricket. I believe most individuals thought that we couldn’t win in India this time. So good to see us, when was the check? Let’s examine it, let’s observe it and see, see the place we get to within the few weeks which might be remaining.

Jonathan Reynolds: I am unable to profess a lot cricket information. However coming from Better Manchester, you may recognise our dominance on the footballing aspect. Lots of curiosity in that wherever you go.

NDTV: Precisely. And simply as we’re wrapping up, I imply, I had made that time earlier concerning the timing. So the polls at the very least are displaying Labour properly forward at this level, however you’ve got nonetheless obtained some months to go. And we all know {that a} week is a very long time in politics. How assured are you? Why do you assume that, I imply, on condition that it has been 14 years out of energy, why do you assume that Labour is prepared now?

Jonathan Reynolds: We’re not complacent, we are able to genuinely say, it isn’t simply phrases. We’re genuinely not complacent. However I believe initially, we are able to say, take a look at how the Labour Social gathering has modified since 2019. We’re a totally totally different proposition, the credit score for that in an enormous means is all the way down to Keir Starmer for having the braveness to try this. And I believe folks recognise that case. In fact, politics at all times displays a bit of bit on the opposite aspect. The actual fact is that there’s a sense that this Conservative authorities has run out of power and that there are main issues in public companies and finally, the economic system. And the modifications which might be required that may’t be delivered by the incumbent authorities, I might say on issues like constructing sufficient houses within the UK and enhancing our relationship with the European Union. That’s simpler for an incoming authorities to do and naturally, issues like our ambition on web zero and getting the financial advantages to the UK for that, time very properly with the general public. However what we are going to do is just not be complacent however will take our function critically. We’ll take that accountability critically being right here in India as a part of that.

NDTV: And naturally, ultimate query. We have got elections developing quickly. And the Prime Minister simply mentioned that the BJP will cross a file 370, NDA 400 plus. So that you’re participating with this authorities because the potential new authorities. How are you seeing it?

David Lammy: I have been round in politics lengthy sufficient to know that in an awesome democracy like this, it’s for the Indian folks to resolve who they wish to kind the federal government. It is an enormous train to see thousands and thousands of individuals going to the polls right here in India, it is an enormous message to the worldwide neighborhood right now. It is one thing that each our international locations share, we treasure that democratic custom.

David Lammy: I wish to see change within the UK. I wait to see what the Indian folks resolve within the weeks forward.

NDTV: Thanks each so very a lot. It was completely improbable to satisfy properly, two males who’re amongst the foremost thought leaders now of the New Labour Social gathering. Thanks very a lot. David Lammy, and Jonathan Reynolds for being on The Dialogues. Thanks.

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