Jul 08. MPs call for tighter rules on arms brokering overseas.The Government must make it illegal for British citizens overseas, as well as everyone living in the UK, to trade in any form of arms or weaponry between overseas countries without a licence, says the combined Committees on Arms Exports Controls
(formerly the Quadripartite Committee) in its annual report today.
The Committees are urging the Government, in completing its current Review of Export Controls, to extend its existing rule covering the trade of certain “high risk” items to all goods and technologies on UK’s Military List, which covers military, security and para-military goods, software and technology and arms, ammunition and related materiel.
The first two tranches of secondary legislation to emerge from the Government’s Review are welcomed by the Committees, particularly the extension of extra-territorial controls to the trade in small arms and light weapons, portable anti-aircraft weapons and cluster bombs – all deemed as high risk items which may end up in the hands of terrorists. But the third and final tranche due to be published in draft in the autumn is of particular interest to the Committees because it will define the extent and consequence of the Review.
Roger Berry MP, Chair of the Committees, says, “We welcome the ruling that any UK citizen trading overseas in high-risk light weapons should require a license but we feel that the extra-territorial provisions should cover the trade in all the other weapons that appear on the UK’s “Military List” as well. Otherwise where should we sensibly draw the line between what is high risk and what is not? It seems baffling, for example, to require a licence for the trade in small arms but not in missiles with a range up to 300 kilometres. The key issue for the Committees is the extent to which the third tranche of the legislation will cover other items on the Military List.”
In previous reports, the Committees expressed concern about the effectiveness with which the export control regime has been enforced. Their concerns were increased when told that non-compliance with the UK system can make economic sense for UK exporters. The risks of detection were small as were the resulting penalties.
However, having reviewed the evidence this year the Committees are encouraged by the increase in the number of seizures, the level of penalties imposed by the courts and the increase in resources devoted to compliance. The Committees also welcome the consideration which the Government is giving to the possible use of civil penalties, which would provide an important weapon in the armoury of those charged with enforcement of export controls and, crucially, has the potential to swing the economic balance in favour of compliance.
House of Lords Hansard Written Answers for 14 July 2008
Armed Forces: Future Aircraft Carriers
Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty’s Government: Further to the Written Statement by Baroness Taylor of Bolton on 3 July (WS 15) announcing the signature of the contracts and of the alliance agreement to build the two aircraft carriers, what are the principal milestones in the construction process; and when they expect to reach each of those landmarks. [HL4713]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor
of Bolton): The principal milestones in the construction of the Future Aircraft
Carriers (CVF) are: start of production work at the main shipyards, which is expected to commence in early 2009 for CVF01 and mid 2010 for CVF02;delivery of the first hull block to the Rosyth integration yard, planned for late 2011 for CVF01 and mid 2013 for CVF02; andfloat-up of the completed hulls in early 2013 for CVF01 and mid 2014 for CVF02 to be followed by sea trials and contract acceptance in 2014 and 2016 respectively.
House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 16 July 2008
Armed Forces: Vehicles