Wera Hobhouse MP raises Treaty for the UN prohibition of nuclear weapons at Foreign Office Questions

In Foreign and Commonwealth Office questions in the House of Commons, Wera Hobhouse asked Jeremy Hunt, “The ongoing tensions between Iran and the US concern many of my constituents, particularly those who would like to see a world without nuclear weapons. Is the Secretary of State considering making the UK a signatory to the UN treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons?”

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Jeremy Hunt, responded “We are strong supporters of nuclear non-proliferation. We think it is one of the biggest and most important things achieved since the nuclear non-proliferation treaty of 1970. In this area, we take a different approach from the US, and I raised those concerns very openly with Mike Pompeo yesterday.”

Government asked private notice question on Iran nuclear deal in House of Lords

Lord West of Spithead asked “Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the fact that the Government of Iran have given 60 days’ notice that they intend to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and restart their nuclear weapons programme, what steps they are taking to mitigate the increased risk of conflict in the region.”

Full text available here.

Westminster tweets of the week

Westminster tweets of the week

 

Caroline Lucas MP: “Gavin Williamson’s Sacking Is A Chance For A Nuclear Weapons Rethink”

Parliamentary CND chair Caroline Lucas MP wrote an opinion piece for Huffington post.

“Nuclear weapons remain a costly distraction from the real security threats we face, like climate change. The billions being spent on Trident replacement would be much better spent on investing in developing the infrastructure we need for a zero-carbon economy, as well as in protecting public services. To use the money on a project that makes Britain and the world a far more dangerous place is politically irresponsible and economically obscene.”

Rachael Maskell MP: “As a Christian, I’m opposed to ministers using Westminster Abbey to celebrate terrible nuclear weapons”

The Labour MP voices her opposition to the Westminster Abbey ‘celebrations’ in an article for PoliticsHome.

“Instead of celebrating these weapons, we should be embracing the opportunity to work towards disarmament for humanitarian good. The Church should be using its influence to encourage the government to engage with the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and work towards a world without nuclear weapons.”

Public Accounts Committee question experts on submarine defueling and dismantling

Witnesses called were David Goldstone, Chief Operating Officer, Rear Admiral Tim Hodgson, Defence Nuclear Organisation Sub Cap Director, Ministry of Defence, Ian Booth, Chief Executive, Submarine Delivery Agency, and Archie Bethel, Chief Executive, Babcock International Group.

Weekly Westminster Insights

Welcome to our weekly update on what is going on in the Houses of Parliament from CND’s Parliamentary Officer, Amy Keegan.

Last week saw MPs return to Parliament after Easter break and the release of the House of Lords International Relations Committee report into the nuclear risk. The comprehensive report was launched ahead of the 2019 Preparatory Committee of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference which starts today at the UN in New York. The report concludes that risk of nuclear use has risen and sets out recommendations for the UK government to re-engage. On the launch of the report, Chairman of the Committee, Lord Howell of Guilford said “We are now dangerously close to a world without arms control agreements, paving the way for a new arms race and for increased risk of nuclear weapons use. Disintegrating relationships between nuclear possessor states, new capabilities and technologies, mixed with a lack of communication and understanding, mean that the risk of nuclear weapons being used is greater now than it has been since the Cold War. The 2019 Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference next week is an opportunity to push for an increase in dialogue and transparency between the Nuclear Weapon States to show a demonstrable commitment to disarmament. We urge the Government to take our serious concerns into consideration, and use the Preparatory Committee to address them.” The government will have to respond to the report by the 24th of June. See CND’s response to the report.

This week in Parliament, the Public Accounts Committee starts its inquiry into the “dismal failure” to decommission old nuclear submarines that was revealed in this  report from the National Audit Office. The committee will hold an evidence session hearing from witnesses from the Ministry of Defence, Submarine Delivery Agency and Babcock on Wednesday at 2.30pm. This Friday it looks like the Westminster Abbey ‘celebration’ of the so-called continuous at sea deterrent will be going ahead and we’re working with Parliamentary CND MPs to voice our protest in Parliament. For more on CND’s wider response to this see here.

As always, I’ll share updates throughout the week here.

Amy  @amy_keegan