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Catherine West MP raises questions with Ministry of Defence on the UK response to INF treaty

Catherine West MP asked the Secretary of State for Defence “what discussions he has had with his counterpart in the US administration on the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty since the announcement by President Trump that the US intended to withdraw from that treaty.”

Gavin Williamson MP, Secretary of State for Defence responded stating that “The UK maintains a close dialogue with the US at all levels on foreign and security policy questions, including the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The Treaty has been consistently raised at the Ministerial level between myself and my US counterpart. Ministry of Defence officials have also engaged at all levels with the US and NATO Allies. We have made our position clear to Russia, and continue to support US and NATO action to bring Russia back to verifiable compliance.”

International Relations Committee inquiry evidence session: Andrea Berger, James Martin, Sir Simon Gass and Rear Admiral John Gower

On Wednesday 30th January 2019 Andrea Berger, Senior Research Associate and Senior Program Manager, James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies; Sir Simon Gass, former British Ambassador to Iran and former Political Director, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Rear Admiral John Gower CB OBE, and former Assistant Chief of Defence Staff (Nuclear, Chemical, Biological), Ministry of Defence, gave evidence to the select committee on International relations.

Read the full transcript of the evidence session. 

International Relations Committee inquiry evidence session: Jessica Cox, François Heisbourg and Alexander Kmentt

On Wednesday 23rd January 2019 François Heisbourg, Special Adviser, Fondation pour la recherche stratégique, and Senior Adviser for Europe, International Institute for Strategic Studies; Alexander Kmentt, former Director, Department for Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs and Jessica Cox, Director of the Nuclear Policy Directorate, NATO, gave evidence to the select committee on International relations.

 

Read the full transcript of the evidence session. 

Parliamentarians call for the UK government to save the INF treaty

Discover more about our campaign to save the INF treaty.

Deidre Brock MP raises questions on Britain’s nuclear weapons archive files

Deidre Brock MP, Shadow SNP Spokesperson for Environment and Rural Affairs asked the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

“For what reason the archive files relating to Britain’s nuclear weapons and atomic energy programmes were withdrawn from the National Archives by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority in 2018.”

Richard Harrington MP, Parliamentary under-secretary of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy responded on behalf of the government stating “The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, working in collaboration with colleagues from the Ministry of Defence and the Atomic Weapons Establishment, is undertaking a security review of nuclear information records in the archives at Kew. As part of the review process, a collection of records (including many relating to the early development of military and civil nuclear technology) has been temporarily withdrawn from general access. At this stage, it is still unclear how long the review will take, but the NDA does anticipate that many of the documents will be restored to the public archive in due course. In the meantime, archived material can be requested through Freedom of Information access requests.”

APPG on Global Security and Non-Proliferation host briefing on “the UK’s Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Diplomacy”

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Global Security and Non-Proliferation hosted a briefing for Parliamentarians on The UK’s Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Diplomacy

Speakers: Aidan Liddle (UK Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva,) and Sarah Price (Head of Counter-Proliferation and Arms Control Centre, FCO)

Read BASIC’s summary of the event 

CND submits evidence to House of Lords International Relations Committee inquiry into the NPT and Disarmament

In November 2018 the House of Lords International Relations Committee launched an inquiry into the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and nuclear disarmament. On the 18th January CND submitted evidence to the inquiry. The full submission is available here

Summary

  • The twin requirements of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) – disarmament and non-proliferation – are fundamental to the security of the world today. But the UK government currently faces in two directions. The first openly pursues a new nuclear weapons platform to last decades into the future whilst the other talks of achieving progress on disarmament at international fora including conferences of the NPT and the UN’s Conference on Disarmament. At a time when our government vigorously and rightly opposes any nuclear proliferation, this is widely understood to be hypocritical.
  • CND believes that the UK and the nuclear weapon states are currently failing to deliver their side of the bargain they have made with the non-nuclear weapon states who are signatories to the NPT. The limitations of the NPT in expressing a political commitment to global disarmament, but without either the formal prohibition, or a time frame or a mechanism to deliver that goal, mean that further negotiation and agreement are necessary to complement and enhance the existing agreement.
  • CND believes the UK must make a commitment to fulfill its NPT obligations, including giving support to new international initiatives to advance nuclear disarmament such as the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), and instead of replacing the Trident nuclear weapons system, to carry out its decommissioning and scrap plans for its replacement. This would be welcomed by people around the world and could break the log jam in progress towards a safer, nuclear-weapon free world.
  • While nuclear weapons exist, we are never safe from a military disagreement escalating into nuclear war.

Emma Dent Coad MP raises questions with the Ministry of Defence on Trident

Parliamentary CND Vice Chair Emma Dent Coad MP asked the Secretary of State for Defence,

“On what dates safety cases for the operation of the PWR2 Steam Raising Plant were submitted by his Department for regulatory approval.”

Stuart Andrew MP , Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence responded “The PWR2 Naval Reactor Safety Case is a live document which is maintained through-life to justify and ensure continued safe operation of the reactors in our submarines. It is a requirement that a major stand alone review of each Safety Case is undertaken at approximately ten-year intervals. The last periodic full review was completed in 2014.”