Nick Clegg’s Letter from the Leader: “The world’s children deserve our protection”

This week Nick reflects on two speeches in two weeks: the first to the party’s conference in Glasgow, the second to the UN general assembly. In one he announced free school lunches for the youngest children in English schools; in the other he announced an extra £100m of aid to help Syrian refugees. As Nick says, “We all hate the idea of a child going hungry. Be they a refugee on the borders of Syria, or the neglected child of a troubled family in an inner city: the world’s children deserve our protection.” You can read the letter in full, below…

libdem letter from nick clegg

Last week, I was at our party conference in Glasgow. This week I’m writing to you on a flight back from the UN in New York, where I spoke at the General Assembly and discussed Syria, Iran UK and arms control.

From setting out our liberal agenda in Britain to setting out our liberal agenda in the world: my speech in New York was all about how we can defend the virtues of liberal, open societies against closed, insular ones. You can read the speech in full here.

One of our biggest priorities is aid to help Syrian refugees. It felt good to be representing the UK, persuading other nations to match our efforts to support to those hounded from their homes by this terrible civil war. We announced an extra £100m of funding, bringing the total we have donated so far to half a billion pounds, second only to the US.

At the meeting of the Security Council, I voted on behalf of us all for tougher rules on the sale of small arms and light weapons. Guns are such a rarity in the UK that it can be easy to forget how these weapons can destabilise a society, fuel conflict and help prop up rogue regimes. As many as half a million people are killed every year by these weapons: we must make every effort to control them.

These are issues that are at the heart of what we believe as Liberal Democrats. Being there in the room when dozens of countries agree to make progress is our kind of internationalism in practice.

I was also lucky enough, during my few days in New York, to visit a school in Harlem that is turning around the lives of some incredibly disadvantaged young people. Last week I was thrilled to announce free school lunches for the youngest children in English schools: here in Harlem, at this school, they send the children home with a packed supper, because there’s little chance of a meal at home.

We all hate the idea of a child going hungry. Be they a refugee on the borders of Syria, or the neglected child of a troubled family in an inner city: the world’s children deserve our protection. That simple belief is core to my politics, and I’m sure to yours. It will always be a priority in everything we do.

Best wishes,

Nick Clegg

PS Thanks to everyone who is taking part in one of the Jobs Campaign Day of Action events today, getting out the message that our Government has helped create over a million jobs and is now working to create a million more.

For more information about your local Day of Action events click here or if you wish to support the campaign by donating please click here.

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One Comment

  • Helen Dudden 29th Sep '13 - 9:24am

    Nick , so do our own children. I tried to contact your office on the subject of the All Party Group on Child Abduction.

    I had no reply, other than you have not enough MP’s. Not even one, was interested in the need to help those who have lost their children. Perhaps, you may be interested reading on line, what is happening with Reunite International, who work closely with the Justice system.

    Also, I do not like the subject of hungry children, and why can’t the school meals start now, for those who most need it?I too, like breakfast clubs. I understand there are vouchers for babies food, as well as younger children. Health problems can be caused by bad diet. This is for those who are in danger of remaining without food as the winter starts.

    I went to a church meeting here in Bath, and they likened the situation we are in, to war, now I understand, why there is hunger and suffering. Don did correct them, but I feel that the statement just about covers things. I am not part of that church, but only too well do I understand the subject of being starved, it is part of my history, not mine personally, but those who suffered during that terrible time.

    The way that benefits were just removed was hardly fair.

    Having been to a very recent meeting on law, with the Westminster Legal Policy Forum, I think many of us had disquiet about the new additions to Family Law.

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