Westminster tweets of the week

Paul Girvan MP questions government on North Korea

Paul Girvan asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, “what steps he is taking with his international counterparts to enforce international sanctions on North Korea.”

Mark Field Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Office responded, “The Government is actively working with international partners to fully implement all relevant UN Security Council measures in respect of North Korea. The UK has contributed four Royal Navy vessels in the past year to a US-coordinated maritime sanctions enforcement operation. We have lobbied widely to encourage all States to enforce sanctions on North Korea and to stem major sources of illicit revenue for North Korea, such as overseas labourers and cyber-crime. Until North Korea takes concrete steps towards its complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation sanctions must remain and all states must continue to enforce them in full. We also welcome the work of the UN Panel of Experts who report on States’ implementation of UN Security Council measures. The Panel’s latest report details continued evasion of sanctions by North Korea. The Panel of Experts reports can be found at https://www.un.org/securitycouncil/sanctions/1718/panel_experts/reports.”

Jonathan Edwards MP questions Government on the Dreadnought submarines

Jonathan Edwards asked the Secretary of State for Defence “if she will make an estimate of the cost to the public purse of potential late changes to the Dreadnought submarine design. What assessment she has made of the effect of delays to Dreadnought submarines on the out of service date for Vanguard submarines.

Stuart Andrew Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence responded “The design and build of the Dreadnought class submarines continues. The programme remains on track to enter service in the early 2030s, it remains within its budget. The build phase for the entire class will take approximately 20 years. The Dreadnought programme will ensure the United Kingdom has a credible, independent and capable nuclear deterrent out to the 2060s.”

Jonathan Edwards asked “Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment she has made of the effect of delays to the Astute submarine programme on the delivery of the Dreadnought programme.”

Stuart Andrew replied “The Dreadnought submarine programme remains within budget and on track to deliver the first boat in the early 2030s.”

Jonathan Edwards asked “the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps her Department in taking to tackle delays to the Vanguard submarine maintenance schedule. What estimate she has made of the cost to the public purse of delays to the Vanguard submarine maintenance schedule.”

Stuart Andrew replied “The Ministry of Defence is committed to working closely with Babcock to safely deliver submarine support work, including our major planned maintenance projects. With Babcock, we are employing robust programme management techniques to deliver the HMS VANGUARD planned period of deep maintenance and refuel work. I am withholding the estimated cost as its disclosure would prejudice commercial interests.”

Jonathan Edwards asked “the Secretary of State for Defence, what estimate her Department has made of the cost to the public purse of upgrading docks at Devonport as part of the UK nuclear programme.”

Stuart Andrew responded “The Ministry of Defence continues to undertake work to define the future infrastructure requirements at Devonport to deliver the submarine programme safely and securely. We are currently conducting negotiations with industry partners.”

Jonathan Edwards asked “the Secretary of State for Defence, if she will publish the full-life costings of all elements of the UK nuclear programme.”

Stuart Andrew responded “The Ministry of Defence does not, and has no plans to, routinely publish whole life costs for projects, nuclear or otherwise, beyond what is already published in reports such as the Defence Equipment Plan, Ministry of Defence Annual Report and Accounts, and the Infrastructure and Projects Authority’s Annual Report on Major Projects.”

Wera Hobhouse MP raises Treaty for the UN prohibition of nuclear weapons at Foreign Office Questions

In Foreign and Commonwealth Office questions in the House of Commons, Wera Hobhouse asked Jeremy Hunt, “The ongoing tensions between Iran and the US concern many of my constituents, particularly those who would like to see a world without nuclear weapons. Is the Secretary of State considering making the UK a signatory to the UN treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons?”

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Jeremy Hunt, responded “We are strong supporters of nuclear non-proliferation. We think it is one of the biggest and most important things achieved since the nuclear non-proliferation treaty of 1970. In this area, we take a different approach from the US, and I raised those concerns very openly with Mike Pompeo yesterday.”

Government asked private notice question on Iran nuclear deal in House of Lords

Lord West of Spithead asked “Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the fact that the Government of Iran have given 60 days’ notice that they intend to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and restart their nuclear weapons programme, what steps they are taking to mitigate the increased risk of conflict in the region.”

Full text available here.

Westminster tweets of the week

Westminster tweets of the week


Caroline Lucas MP: “Gavin Williamson’s Sacking Is A Chance For A Nuclear Weapons Rethink”

Parliamentary CND chair Caroline Lucas MP wrote an opinion piece for Huffington post.

“Nuclear weapons remain a costly distraction from the real security threats we face, like climate change. The billions being spent on Trident replacement would be much better spent on investing in developing the infrastructure we need for a zero-carbon economy, as well as in protecting public services. To use the money on a project that makes Britain and the world a far more dangerous place is politically irresponsible and economically obscene.”

Rachael Maskell MP: “As a Christian, I’m opposed to ministers using Westminster Abbey to celebrate terrible nuclear weapons”

The Labour MP voices her opposition to the Westminster Abbey ‘celebrations’ in an article for PoliticsHome.

“Instead of celebrating these weapons, we should be embracing the opportunity to work towards disarmament for humanitarian good. The Church should be using its influence to encourage the government to engage with the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and work towards a world without nuclear weapons.”