24 Jul 14. Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy.
The Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy published the Government’s Response to its latest report, The work of the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy in 2013–14, and calls for evidence to inform its next phase of work. The Committee’s report raised concerns about the lack of planning for the next National Security Strategy (NSS), which is due for publication in 2015. The Committee has asked the Government to produce a radically different NSS, tackling the big (and politically difficult) questions and which will guide decisions going forward. It said this should cover energy security and domestic resilience, as well as foreign policy and defence, and criticised as unrealistic the Government’s stated policy expectation of no shrinkage in the UK’s international influence.
24 Jul 14. Defence Committee. TOWARDS THE NEXT DEFENCE AND SECURITY REVIEW: PART TWO–NATO. The Defence Committee will publish a report on Towards The Next Defence And Security Review: Part Two–NATO on Thursday 31 July 2014 at 00.01 am. Embargoed copies of the report will be sent to you Tuesday 29 July from 9.00 am.
21 Jul 14. The Committees on Arms Export Controls (CAEC)Annual Report. Chairman writes to the Foreign Secretary on arms exports to Russia. MPs call for controls over arms exports which might be used for internal repression to be tightened. The Chairman of the Committees, Sir John Stanley, says: “Following the destruction of Malaysian airliner MH17 and all on board, I have sent a further letter to the Foreign Secretary on UK arms exports to Russia which the Committees on Arms Exports have been scrutinising in detail. (The letter accompanies our annual report).
“The most significant change in the Government’s policy on arms exports since the Committees’ 2013 Report is the dropping of the wording in the previous October 2000 Consolidated Criteria that: ‘An export licence will not be issued if the arguments for doing so are outweighed … by concern that the goods might be used for internal repression,’ when the Business Secretary announced the present Government’s revised Consolidated Criteria on 25 March 2014. This wording was dropped notwithstanding the fact that the then Foreign Secretary had unequivocally confirmed that this remained the Government’s policy in his Oral Evidence to the Committees on 7 February 2012. The Committees have unanimously recommended that this policy wording, which represents an important safeguard against UK arms exports being used for internal repression, be reinstated.
“The Committees had been unable to make a complete Report to the House of Commons of its detailed scrutiny of Government policy since 2004 on the export to Syria of dual-use chemicals that could be used in the manufacture of chemical weapons because the Government refused to disclose to the Committees the names of the companies to whom export licences were granted unless the Committees undertook to take evidence from the companies in private, but not in public. Having carried out their detailed scrutiny, and having taken evidence from 2 of the 3 companies concerned in private, the Committees have concluded that the decision of the previous Government to give 5 export licence approvals for a dual-use chemical to Syria between July 2004 and May 2010 “was highly questionable” and that the decision of the present Government to give 2 export licence approvals for dual-use chemicals to Syria in January 2012 after the civil war had started in Syria in 2011 “was irresponsible.”
The Committees welcomed the decision of the Business Secretary to provide the Committees with the Government’s explanation – country-by-country – as to why each country included in the Government’s Priority Markets List for UK arms exports for 2014/15 is included in the List. This explanation is reproduced in full in Volume II evidence on page Ev 60.
The Committees have repeated their previou