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Labour renews calls for PM to boycott Sri Lanka summit

Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander. Credit: Chris Ison/PA Wire

Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander has said Prime Minister David Cameron must "urgently consider reversing his decision" to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government summit in Sri Lanka this week.

"For months Labour has urged the Government to do more to raise Britain's concern over human rights in Sri Lanka in the run up to the summit," Mr Alexander said.

"If the Prime Minister now chose to reverse his decision to attend the summit - even at this late stage - he would have Labour's full support."

Alexander says he 'paid the price' for opposing McBride

Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander has told Labour activists he "paid a price" for opposing former Brown aide Damian McBride's "destructive" style of politics.

Mr Alexander was hit by claims in the spin doctor's book that he ''dispassionately'' advised Gordon Brown that his sister would have to quit her role as the party's Scottish leader.

Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Wendy Alexander stood down from the post in 2008 following a row about donations to her leadership campaign.

Mr Alexander told the Progress rally: "What Damian McBride represented wasn't just the way politics is or just some briefing, it was destructive, divisive and deeply damaging to our party."

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Fallout from Syria vote set to continue

The political fallout from last week's Syria vote has continued with a Cabinet minister saying the results would be a matter for Ed Miliband's conscience and the shadow foreign secretary admitting he was not comfortable with the position Labour now finds itself in.

ITV News Political Editor Tom Bradby reports:

Michael Gove lambasted Labour saying that the party would have to live with the consequences.

Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander told ITV News that he was not "comfortable with the situation" in Syria as the UK looks unlikely to intervene.

PM urged to recall Parliament to discuss Syria

Speaking on BBC Breakfast Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander said:

The right response is not simply to say something must be done, however loudly. It is to both ask and answer the question 'What steps can be taken to make a horrendous situation better?'

Now, as the Labour Party, we have never in principle ruled out the use of force in Syria. But we haven't yet heard from the Government what its strategic objective would be for any military action.

Would it be to degrade and diminish the capability of Assad to use chemical weapons? Would it be an attempt to try and change the course of a highly complex, intractable civil war?

We simply haven't had those questions answered.

And that's why I do think the Prime Minister should bring Parliament back so that they can offer their case both to politicians and to the people before any decision is taken to commit British forces into combat.

Leaks show 'need for ministerial oversight of GCHQ'

The shadow foreign secretary said the leaks that suggest the GCHQ had tapped data cables "underlines the need" for ministerial oversight of intelligence agencies.

File photo of shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander. Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

Douglas Alexander said: "The latest reports in the Guardian underline the need for effective parliamentary and ministerial oversight of GCHQ and our other intelligence agencies.

"Whilst GCHQ do vital work to keep us all safe from harm, it is also vital that they do so with the legal framework set down by Parliament, and with proper safeguards in place to protect people's privacy.

"We urged the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) to look into these issues raised by the Guardian, and their work is now under way.

"These latest reports reinforce the urgency and importance of the ISC's work on this issue."

Labour warns of 'unease' about supplying Syrian rebels

Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander has said there is unease "across party lines" about the Prime Minister's comments on the potential supply of British arms to Syria's opposition forces. In a statement, he said:

For months Labour has called on the Government to answer basic questions about their approach, such as how would the Prime Minister ensure that weapons supplied did not fall into the wrong hands and how would this step help to de-escalate the conflict rather than prolong it?

The G8 is a key window of opportunity for David Cameron to exert pressure on President Putin and it is vital that he uses the coming hours to do so.

– Douglas Alexander, shadow foreign secretary

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Labour: Vote 'is further devastating blow to PM's authority'

This vote is a further devastating blow to the Prime Minister's authority.

It demonstrates that David Cameron has managed to turn a Europe issue into a leadership issue.

This is a Prime Minister who has lost control of the agenda and tonight lost control of his Party.

David Cameron’s backbenchers have shown they simply won’t give up until he gives in.

The real risk is that he spends the coming month trying to get his party back in line, instead of focusing on getting our economy back on track.

– Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander

Labour: Cameron has lost control over Europe

Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander Credit: PA Wire

Labour's Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander has accused David Cameron of losing control of his party over Europe.

It follows reports that the Conservatives are considering publishing a draft bill which would guarantee a referendum on Britain's membership of the EU.

"This seems to be just the latest panicked response from the Prime Minister who is now following, rather than leading his backbenchers" Mr Alexander said.

"David Cameron is a Prime Minister who has both lost control of the agenda and lost control of his party."

"Labour have said that we don't think committing now to an in/out referendum up to four years from now is in the national interest because the priority must be getting growth into the economy not getting Britain out of Europe."

Labour: EU Bill shows Cameron has lost control of party

Labour Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander had this response to the Prime Minister's decision to publish a Bill for an EU referendum:

This seems to be just the latest panicked response from the Prime Minister who is now following, rather than leading his backbenchers.

David Cameron is a Prime Minister who has both lost control of the agenda and lost control of his Party.

Labour have said that we don't think committing now to an in/out referendum up to four years from now is in the national interest because the priority must be getting growth into the economy not getting Britain out of Europe.

This latest step has more to do with trying to get his Party back in line rather than getting the economy back on track.

– douglas alexander, shadow foreign secretary

Labour: PM is putting party consensus on EU before jobs

Labour's Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander has said that the Prime Minister's comments on the EU, made on the BBC's Today programme, raise more questions than they answer:

The gap between his back benchers and our EU partners remains un-bridgeable.

It is little wonder that British business leaders like Richard Branson and Martin Sorrell, together with the Americans, the Germans and the Austrians, have all warned in the last week of the dangers of the UK sleepwalking towards exit from Europe.

At a time when the priority should be jobs and growth, the Prime Minister sadly seems willing to put vital UK investment at risk for the sake of trying to keep his party united.

– douglas alexander, shadow foreign secretary
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