Labour’s Emily Thornberry talks Trump and NHS queues during campaign visit to Ipswich

Emily Thornberry with Labour Party members in Ipswich.

Emily Thornberry with Labour Party members in Ipswich. - Credit: Archant

The British government must be prepared to stand up to new US President Donald Trump when senior ministers visit him for the first time.

That was the message from Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry during a campaign visit to Ipswich less than 24 hours after the inauguration of the new president.

Ms Thornberry was in town to boost Labour campaigners – but the impact of the new US government on the rest of the world remained a priority for her.

She said: “Britain has a very important role on the world stage. It is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, it is a key member of NATO and I am very proud of this country’s record on foreign aid.

“When Theresa May meets the new president she must tell him it is vital that US does not walk away from the Paris Climate Change agreement, it does not tear up the Iran nuclear deal, and it does not move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem because that would stir up Palestinian problems.”

She insisted that Labour remained committed to the NATO alliance – and ambiguous statements by Mr Trump and his newly-ratified Defense Secretary James Matis needed to be cleared up.

She said: “Britain and America are key members of NATO and we need to have a clear message. I don’t think President Putin is planning any great invasion but he could take advantage of confusion and misunderstandings.”

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Ms Thornberry said it was vital to re-open lines of communication between NATO and Russia so the two sides knew what each other was doing and did not fall into conflict because of misunderstandings.

But she was concerned about Russia using cyber-attacks and other forms of technology to undermine democracy in other countries.

She was in Ipswich to join Labour Party members campaigning on a number of issues – especially the future of the health service in the town.

She said: “We are seeing problems with A&E units across the country and I know that the waiting time for people to get treated here in Ipswich has been going up in recent years.”