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PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS

03 Nov 10. ORAL EVIDENCE: THE APPOINTMENT OF THE NEW CHIEF OF THE DEFENCE STAFF, Wednesday 17 November 2010, The Grimond Room, Portcullis House
Witness:
At 10.30 am
* General Sir David Richards KCB CBE DSO, Chief of the Defence Staff, Ministry of Defence

House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 01 Nov 2010

Nuclear Disarmament

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the Prime Minister’s oral statement of 19 October 2010, Official Report, columns 805-06, on the Strategic Defence and Security Review, in what forums he expects discussions of the UK’s responsibilities for multilateral nuclear disarmament to take place.

Alistair Burt: The Government are committed to the long-term vision of a world without nuclear weapons and will press for multilateral progress as the primary means of achieving sustainable global nuclear disarmament.
The UK continues to take part in regular discussions on multilateral nuclear disarmament in the following international fora: the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty preparatory committees and five-yearly review conferences; the UN’s Disarmament Commission and First Committee; the preparatory commission for the Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty Organisation; and the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. The Nuclear Weapon States will also discuss nuclear disarmament at a meeting of the P5 in Paris in 2011-following a similar conference hosted by the UK in 2009.

Nuclear Weapons: Arms Control

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what position the Government plan to take in the forthcoming meeting of the United Nations First (Disarmament) Committee on the draft resolution on (a) the Nuclear Weapons Convention (draft resolution L.50) and (b) d-alerting (draft resolution L42). [20668]

Alistair Burt: Resolution votes at the UN’s First Committee started in New York on 26 October 2010. The UK voted against the draft resolution on a Nuclear Weapons Convention (draft resolution L.26), together with 47 other countries including the US and all EU partners. On 27 October 2010, the UK voted against the draft resolution on ‘de-alerting’ (L.42), along with the US and France. We gave a statement at the time of voting at First Committee, which explained that we do not accept that further de-alerting of nuclear weapons by the UK is necessary to prevent accidental use: our nuclear weapons are subject to the most rigorous command and control systems, and the UK has already significantly reduced the operational status of our nuclear deterrent.

Defence: Exports

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he plans to take to increase defence exports. [19638]

Mr Gerald Howarth: This Government have made defence exports a priority. UKTI Defence and Security Organisation (UKTI DSO), part of the Department for Business Innovation and Skills but working in close harmony with the MOD, is responsible for promoting British defence industry overseas. As the hon. Member knows only too well, defence exports make an important contribution to sustaining our defence industry. They uphold tens of thousands of highly skilled jobs and maintain prosperity for both the individuals in the industry and for taxpayers as well. In addition to this, defence exports tie into a broader diplomacy initiative by enhancing relationships with key strategic partners. This Government intend to increase defence exports through an active and innovative programme for defence diplomacy. We are working closely with industry to gain a clear understanding of the marketplace and to grasp the genuine potential to achieve exports. We are now considering export issues early in our acquisition process and aim to identify how early adjustments can be made to our own procurement programme to improve export prospects. We will utilise modular design opportunities to provide enhanced flexibility to both the company and custo

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