25 Apr 19. UK parliamentary report warns of increased nuclear weapons use risk. A UK parliamentary report has raised concerns about the risk of increased use of nuclear weapons due to the lack of arms control agreements. The warning comes in the report titled ‘Rising nuclear risk, disarmament and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty’, published by the House of Lords International Relations Committee.
The committee observed that misunderstanding, miscalculation or mistakes could lead to the use of nuclear weapons. They highlighted ‘a lack of understanding’ between states armed with nuclear weapons on their respective doctrines and declaratory policies.
Rising tensions and misunderstanding between Russia and the West since 2014 has led to heightened levels of nuclear risk, according to the report.
The UK parliamentary report comes days before state leaders convene for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference at the UN in New York.
Lamenting the deteriorating state of nuclear diplomacy, the committee has urged the UK Government to address the concerns and take measures to reduce risks.
Earlier this year, the US and Russia withdrew from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, triggering fresh tensions between the superpowers.
The parliamentary committee raised fears that the collapse of the INF treaty could increase the possibility of states using nuclear weapons.
Recommendations made by the committee include greater dialogue between all nuclear states.
In the report, the committee said: “We accept that Russia is in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, but urge the government to use ongoing discussions in Nato to promote either a revival of the treaty or, at least, to avoid the deployment of intermediate-range missiles in Europe.
“We also call on the government to make clear to the US Administration the value of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) for Euro-Atlantic security, and advocate its extension.”
Other concerns pointed out in the report include the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, and the lack of global progress towards disarmament due to a worsening security situation.
As part of the truce deal, global forces lifted sanctions on Tehran in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear programme.
The US Government’s decision to pull out of the nuclear deal has undermined global nuclear non-proliferation efforts, the committee opined.
The report also came down heavily on ‘reckless’ nuclear rhetoric in an era of digital communications, stating that it could cause misunderstanding and strain relations. China, Russia, France, the UK, the US, India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea are the nine countries in possession of nuclear weapons. (Source: naval-technology.com)
24 Apr 19. House of Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee. PACAC hears from former Foreign Secretaries Jack Straw and Lord Hague in inquiry examining the authorisation of military force. The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee continues its inquiry examining the authorisation of the use of military force on Tuesday 30 April. In this session, the Committee will hear from two former Foreign Secretaries and Leaders of the Commons: Jack Straw and Lord Hague of Richmond. Parliament has no legal role in authorising the use of military force. However, since 2003, it has been asked on several occasions to give its approval. Both Jack Straw and Lord Hague have over the course of their ministerial careers been key protagonists in some of the most contentious and high-profile debates surrounding the deployment of troops, and the continued exercise of the royal prerogative.
In this session, the Committee will seek a political perspective on matters raised by military personnel last month, such as the extent to which issues of legitimacy and legality are factored into the thinking of both military commanders and Government ministers when preparing to deploy forces; and whether in their respective experiences, judgement or analysis ultimately plays a greater role in the decision-making process.
The Committee will also examine the extent to which a convention has emerged requiring parliamentary approval for military action, and whether more clarity is required regarding its scope. Both witnesses have previously argued that a precedent was established by the 2003 vote to embark upon military action in Iraq, and that this should be recognised either via a resolution of the House, changes to Standing Orders, or legislation.
Tuesday 30 April
Committee Room 6, Palace of Westminster
- Rt. Hon. Jack Straw, Foreign Secretary 2001-06
- Rt. Hon. Lord Hague of Richmond, Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State 2010-14
House of Commons and House of Lords Hansard Written Answers
Asked by Lord Campbell-Savours
Asked on: 11 April 2019
Ministry of Defence
Turkey: Arms Trade
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the advice of the Supreme Allied Commander Europe that if Turkey proceeds to purchase the Russian S-400 air defence system it should receive no delivery of F-35 aircraft.
Answered by: Earl Howe
Answered on: 24 April 2019
The UK remains concerned by the planned purchase of S-400 by Turkey and its implications for their continued participation in the F-35 programme. As the US administration has made clear, the purchase of S-400 generates unacceptable risks around F-35. We share this risk assessment and continue to call on Turkey to reconsider its planned purchase in light of those risks and the US offer of alternative solutions to legitimate Turkish air defence requirements.