Starmer gets first big diplomatic win with ‘irreversible’ Ukraine Nato membership plan

Keir Starmer has set about resetting Britain’s relations with key allies as Nato plan to adopt his original proposal to make Ukraine’s pathway into Nato irreversible.

The new prime minister has arrived in Washington on a mission with support for his plan to protect Ukraine’s entry process into the Nato alliance from any potential interfence from a Trump presidency.

He has already spoken of his hopes that military and economic aid to Ukraine from Nato will be Trump proof should Donald Trump retake the White House in November.

And it appears as Nato leaders are set to make the war in Ukraine one of their main topics, Sir Keir’s long term calls, which he made as Labour opposition leader, for the “irreversible” membership strategy will be adopted.

One of his first meetings at Nato was with president Voldymyr Zelensky who is also in the US capital to discuss Russia’s war against his country. This followed defence secretary John Healy flying to Ukraine on Friday immediately after being appointed.

Following the meeting, Sir Keir said: “I’ve just had a very good meeting with president Zelensky, where I made it absolutely clear that as far as the UK is concerned, the change of government makes no difference to the support that we will provide.

“We’d been united on this when we were in opposition, and it was really important to me to be able to affirm that face to face at the meeting.

“I did speak to him immediately after I was sworn in as prime minister last week. And so we build on it here at Nato at this important summit because it is an opportunity for our labour government to reaffirm our commitment to Nato.

“We obviously signed the original treaty, way back, we reaffirm today, but also to discuss with President Zelensky what further support that he needs and to use our opportunity here with our allies to make sure that that support is agreed.

“And to reinforce, in a sense as a message to Putin, the resolve of NATO, bigger now than it’s ever been, more united than it’s ever been and absolutely clear eyed about the threat of Russian aggression.”

But Sir Keir also has a wider strategy he is pushing for defence against the threat of Vladimir Put’s Russia to the European continent.

With plans already moving to rewrite Brexit with an defence and security pact with the EU, Sir Keir’s first meeting at the summit was with German chancellor Olaf Scholz.

After the meeting, a UK government spokesperson said: “The chancellor welcomed the prime minister’s commitment to re-setting the UK’s European partnerships, noting how important our friendships with like-minded countries will be in a challenging international environment. They discussed the importance of having the widest possible cooperation across all aspects of the relationship.

“The two leaders moved on to discuss the need for enhanced defence cooperation in Europe to act as a deterrent for aggression by hostile actors. They agreed that the Nato summit was an opportunity to strengthen our support for Ukraine. The two leaders agreed a firm commitment to deepen in particular UK-Germany defence ties, working at pace to deliver those objectives.

“The prime minister and the chancellor look forward to meeting again at the European Political Community summit in the UK next week to continue these discussions.”

Sir Keir also has set about building relations on both sides of the political divide on Capitol Hill with meetings with Democrat Senate majority leader Chuck Shumer and Republican minority leader Mitch McConnell. He is due to leader Republican House speaker Mike Johnson and Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries.

But the most important meeting of the day was with Biden who he was meeting for the first time since the US president called him to congratulate him on his election victory last week.

The Labour leader is due to have a full bilateral meeting with president Biden and the two will meet again with their wives Victoria and Jill for dinner tonight at the White House.

Under the Tories the special relationship cooled between the White House and Downing Street.

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