The Labour Party’s general election manifesto contended that the world has become a more dangerous place, in which threats to the UK’s safety and security have multiplied and diversified. It cited a rise in geopolitical tensions across the globe, not least the current war in Ukraine and conflict in the Middle East, and the growing emergence of hybrid warfare, including cyber-attacks and misinformation campaigns which seek to subvert the UK’s democracy. 

The manifesto pledged several measures to increase the UK’s safety and security and to increase the effectiveness of the armed forces. They included a pledge to conduct a new strategic defence review and to increase defence spending targets. Labour will also introduce organisational changes including to establish a military strategic headquarters and a national armaments director. Labour has also pledged to strengthen the UK’s multilateral and bilateral alliances, including maintaining support for NATO and striking new bilateral deals with the EU and individual nations including Germany and France. 

Labour has also pledged to measures to increase support for current service personnel and veterans, including implementing the recommendations of the Kerslake Review of military housing. Further, Labour has pledged to improve defence procurement through a new defence industrial strategy and to introduce a ‘NATO test’ to be applied to all future procurement. 

Finally, Labour has committed to maintaining the UK’s nuclear deterrent and support for Ukraine. This includes matching the commitments outlined by the previous Conservative administration on military aid for Ukraine, and new commitments already announced following Labour’s general election win. 

The Library’s briefings for the King’s Speech draw on the Labour Party’s manifesto and other material in the public domain. They have been written in advance of the 2024 King’s Speech to help members of the House of Lords prepare for the debate on the speech. They do not constitute official information about the government’s intentions or provide a complete list of bills to be announced.   

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