Self-Nomination Statements for LFPG Executive Committee

Alphabetical order by surname:

Peymana Assad 

Two years ago, I founded, and now Co-Chair, the Labour Foreign Policy Group. I helped set the group up because I wanted to change the conversation about foreign policy issues within the party and bring the expert voices of our membership to the forefront of discussion.

Since then, I have helped establish LFPG as a distinguished go-to foreign policy group within the Labour Party by leading strategic oversight of the organisation, representing the group on panels and roundtables, building strong relationships with the Shadow Front Bench and other socialists societies, contributing to briefings and submissions on various issues, building relationships with our senior supporters and supporting the tabling of backbench debates on Afghanistan.

Most importantly I have been able to bring in expert voices of those with lived experiences from conflict impacted countries to the work we do, to strengthen our understanding of what sort of foreign policy the Labour Party really needs.

I would like to continue this work, so that we can push the Labour Party to meet both the needs of communities in the UK but also across the world, with diversity of thought and understanding.

I became a child refugee because of western foreign policy decisions. Having worked on these issues for over 15 years, I realised, the voices of the people who must live with what is decided for them in DC or London, never get a chance to voice their opinions. I want LFPG to be the place they are heard.

Emmanuel Artusa-Barrell 

Over the last two years I have been one of the founding Exec members of this amazing group. I would like to re-stand to keep up the great work we have been doing so far since the very beginning. In particular, to build up on the experience we have with the event on the situation in Ukraine and expand our capacity to organise high-level events with experts on the ground in different parts of the world. This could lead us to explore and learn from local experiences, getting insights that might not be covered in the media. Furthermore, to liaise with the diplomatic community in London and explore opportunities for our group to have meetings hosted by foreign Ambassadors and to participate in delegation visits to the U.K. to engage with policymakers, ministers and advisors in order to have a grip on what is happening in the international arena so we can serve and advise our party in an informed way on foreign policy.

Andrew Bruce

I am a member of the Southwark Labour Party, with over 20 years of foreign policy experience, who now teaches at an inner-city school.  At a time of international instability and mounting threats, I believe it is vital the Labour Party develops foreign policy that is robust, ethical and generous. 

Most significantly, I would bring knowledge of the United Nations, European Commission and Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.  After a decade of drift and disengagement, Labour must re-engage with international institutions and help shape their approach to the challenges of a multi-polar world.  Drawing on experience working within these organisations, I would be able to develop strategies for engagement and influence.

I would also bring experience of working in countries at the centre of foreign policy concerns, including Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Palestine, Pakistan, Nigeria, DRC, Venezuela and Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Through work in conflict prevention, mediation, democratic governance and human rights and advising officials and politicians, including a Labour member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, I could help shape the committee’s approach to these countries and issues.

Additionally, I would bring experience of developing vision and direction, raising funds and advocating for change, including as a director of an NGO, chair of a residents’ association and charity trustee.  Teaching politics and geography to a diverse student body provides me with a keen awareness of the concerns of young people, which should help inform the development of foreign policy fit for their future.

 

George Care 

As I understand the current situation, there is a false impression that Labour has insufficiently differentiated its policies from the Government. In the current conflict in Ukraine it is important that the LPFG clearly demonstrates an independent view from the Conservatives whose support has come significantly from Russian Oligarchs. The current conflict in essence is spreading rapidly and solutions must be found to avoid drastic economic, particularly in developing countries, and environmental consequences. Hence before dangerous escalation a policy is needed which engages Israel, China and other countries to bring armed conflict to an end.

Having been a member of the China LPFG I am also aware that issues concerning security, defence, education and technology must be addressed to orchestrate a coherent response. Complex issues must be considered but in a form which can be communicated in an engaging democratic manner with the electorate. As a member of this committee I feel I bring skills to facilitate effective progress from past experience as a trustee in another institution.

Having joined the Party when Harold Wilson was first elected leader I have a detailed knowledge of historical factors which are currently active and as a reviewer have read a fair number of books on foreign and diplomatic issues. I have travelled in Europe, visited Russia and have a sound reading knowledge of at least 2 foreign languages.Having retired I also have time to devote to studying, analysing and developing policy with fellow members.

Geoff Eales 

I have joint FCO, DFID and MOD experience in leadership roles in integration of civil and military affects in furtherance of UK foreign policy. I was Capability Lead during the Libya and Arab Spring Crises. In support of the National Security Council and FCO Posts throughout MENA and the LEVANT, I selected and deployed the Libya Stabilisation Assessment Team and experts to build local capabilities and capacities. I have also been a Stabilisation and Counter Corruption mentor and trainer to NATO Allied Rapid Reaction Corps and the UK Defence Academy students on Army and Joint Services Intermediate and Advanced Command and Staff Courses and the US Army Command and General Staff College to impress upon students the need to understand the civilian environment in which they operate and integrate affects which protect the civil population into their planning.

My experience and the lessons identified, but not yet learned, from Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan evidence that the cross Whitehall and military processes to fully integrate military and civilian planning to deliver a single fully cohesive integrated response to national foreign policy requirements which exercise all the levers of national power and influence, remain seriously flawed. This subjects local populations to risk and harm and Ministers to high levels of political risk. I want to raise awareness of this foreign policy weakness to Shadow Ministers to help prepare them for Office.

I am: Policy Officer, Reigate CLP, Outreach Officer, Labour Friends of the Forces and have completed the Future Parliamentary Candidates Scheme.

 

Josh Arnold-Forster

Currently employed as a political consultant, I previously worked on defence and security policy for the Labour Front Bench (1988-94) and spent a year (2005-06) as an MoD SPAD. In addition, I’ve deployed on several OSCE Electoral Monitoring Missions, and contributed to various studies on security policy.

My experience has shown me how much socialist and progressive foreign and security policies can achieve. We recognise our moral responsibilities to others but we also need to radically strengthen global and UK national security policy. The risks that 12 years of Tory failures, gross errors and cuts have generated need to be fixed through serious long term diplomatic and development policies. Implementing properly funded and effective programmes that support international collaboration to tackle the causes of poverty, corruption, conflict and above all climate change could be agreed in outline now.

We must ensure UK voters have a straightforward explanation of why the Tories implementation of Brexit has been a foreign policy disaster, and why their response to the Ukraine war has been so weak. The Tories managed to get voters to forget that their appeasement helped cause the Falklands war. We mustn’t let them pull the same trick about their appeasement of Putin and his oligarch associates.

The foreign policy making process could and should be democratised. The relevant Select Committees should be provided with some budgetary powers and all their Members should be elected by secret ballot. 

 

James Jennion 

I would like to join the Committee as LFPG combines my passion for Labour values with my expertise in foreign affairs. I am currently supporting LFPG by participating in the Russia Working Group, working to organise an event on Ukraine in October, and have been a Labour Party member for six years.

LFPG’s focus on multilateral institutions and strategic relationships are areas I am keen to help develop. I am currently working for a UN-affiliated organisation and worked extensively on UN-level solutions to the atrocities in Xinjiang during my time advising the Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC). I am due to begin a part-time PhD on UK-Asia relations, so would be keen to support LFPG’s work to cohere a strong China and Indo-Pacific policy for Labour.

I strive to advance equality through my work in foreign policy. Soon after starting on FAC, I founded Out of London, a mentoring scheme working to make foreign affairs careers more accessible. I have published many articles on human rights diplomacy, appearing in US outlets such as The Diplomat – a key theme being the need for human-centred, progressive diplomacy.

Having worked on some of the most pressing foreign affairs questions – from my work on Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Taiwan with FAC and Ukraine with UNICEF UK – I have a solid base of expertise and experience to bring as a member of the LFPG Committee. Above all, I can bring energy, enthusiasm, and collegiality that will help drive forward Labour’s progressive vision for UK foreign policy.

 

Rishi Patel

I am a political and policy director at the strategic advisory consultancy Global Counsel. I have strong policy analysis, management and organisational development skills, which I would like to continue to put into practice for LFPG.

As a founding member of the LFPG Executive, it has been great to see the organisation develop and grow over the past two years.

I have been involved primarily with organisational set up, the initial policy review we submitted to the Labour party’s policymaking process. I have also led other discreet pieces of work including writing blogs and contributing to wider thought leadership and relationship building.

I would like to stand again to continue to drive forward some of the organisational activity I have been involved in, whilst also lead on specific projects – particularly how Labour can craft a compelling post-Brexit vision for UK foreign policy, in the context of the Ukraine conflict.

 

Dr Neeraj Patil 

I am standing to be your representative on the LFPG's Executive Committee because I want the future Labour Government to play an important role in building a free and fair world that is free of conflicts, focused on alleviating global poverty & hunger and mitigating the effects of climate change. We want our next future Labour Government to reverse the cuts for international development funds from 0.5% to 0.7% of GDP.

I am a British Indian who has lived 25 years outside Great Britain and has visited conflict zones like Kashmir. I firmly believe this conflict between India and Pakistan can be resolved by diplomacy and dialogue.

I have served the NHS as a doctor for 27 years with experience working during the Pandemic in the COVID-19 unit in the UK and developing countries like India, and I have witnessed the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on poorer countries

I have served as a Lambeth Councillor for eight years and Mayor in 2010. I have always been a strong defender of human rights and the rule of law. I have zero tolerance for Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Anti-Hinduism, and any kind of racial or religious prejudice. 

We need a Labour administration that can provide global leadership to make the world a free and fair place to live & work without fear and prejudice.

 

Anna-Joy Rickard 

Having been a founder Exec member for the last two years I would like to re-stand to continue to contribute strategy and thought leadership to the LFPG. I currently work for the Tony Blair Institute specialising in the area of foreign policy related to the Sahel, West Africa which combines geopolitics, defence, diplomacy, development and humanitarian interventions. This gives me a good overview of foreign policy debates and opportunities, as does my previous background advising the former prime minister of a small island nation and a career and MSc in international development. I believe that there is an important space for Labour to be crafting a confident strategy for Britain in the world based on our unique strengths as a country and I would like to explore a way for LFPG to contribute to this thinking. My experience as a former Labour councillor for 8 years and Labour activist for 15 years gives me a grounding in campaigning and policy that allows me to relate and shape professional foreign policy into relevant thinking in the political sphere. I hope you will support me to continue to bring this to the LFPG.

 

Anand Shukla 

I am an experienced campaigner for social change and have devoted my working life to working for greater equality and social justice. I have led the anti-poverty charity Daycare Trust where I successfully mobilised local communities to fight successfully against Sure Start closures across the UK and formed a coalition of anti-poverty organisations to reverse the cut in the childcare element of the Working Tax Credit in the first Coalition government Comprehensive Spending Review.

I stood as the Labour Parliamentary candidate in Sutton and Cheam in the 2005 general election, where I increased the Labour share of the vote, bucking a wider national trend. I joined the Labour Party at the age of 15 years old, holding a number of officer roles including most recently the vice chair position of Wimbledon Labour Party. I am a member of Unison, the Co-operative Party and the Fabian Society.

I have worked in international development organisations including the community organising charity Allavida which worked in Eastern Europe and East Africa. I have also been a trustee for Child in Need India and Health Poverty Worldwide.

I took a sabbatical year in 2020-21 to study for a Masters in International Relations at Kings College London. My dissertation was focused on British foreign policy in a post Cold War era, and I would welcome the chance to use my campaigning, political and foreign policy knowledge to support the Labour Party Foreign Policy group to develop its presence and influence over the next year.

 

Jessica Toale 

As a founder and Co-Chair of LFPG, I am driven by our mission to ensure Labour members with expertise and interest in foreign policy are involved in the Party’s policy development process. I wanted to help create a forum that harnessed this knowledge and created a space for debate on the shape of a progressive foreign policy fit for the 21st century. In the last two years I have worked hard to develop the organisation and provide a space for members, including:

  • Spearheading the development of our member-led working groups including on China, Russia and city diplomacy. 

  • Facilitating and editing our submissions to Labour’s International Policy Review, other policy development processes and our LFPG blog.

  • Representing LFPG at Labour Party Conference, Wilton Park and other industry events, roundtables and panels.

  • Leading events and co-operation with affiliates like LCID and LFF including on the Integrated Review

  • Building relationships with the Shadow frontbench and sister parties including through FES

In this time LFPG has become Labour’s pre-eminent foreign policy organisation. But there is so much more we can do! I hope to continue to grow our membership and deepen our members' engagements, enhance our relationship with the frontbench, affiliates and sister parties and support the production of events and briefings that add value to debate within the party.