House of Commons, Tuesday 14 December, NATO Lisbon Summit
Sir Malcolm Rifkind (Kensington, Conservative): The Lisbon statement said nothing on the future of tactical nuclear weapons in Europe. As the Foreign Secretary will be aware, the United Kingdom gave up its tactical nuclear weapons in the 1990s, as militarily useless and politically irrelevant. Will the British Government now support multilateral negotiations between NATO and Russia, so that tactical nuclear weapons can be removed from Europe as a whole?
William Hague (Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Conservative): As my right hon. and learned Friend will be aware, we said at Lisbon that NATO would remain a nuclear alliance to meet current and future threats, which does not directly address his point. The statement at Lisbon recognised the role that the alliance can play in supporting wider disarmament and non-proliferation efforts. We agreed at the summit to reviewing how NATO implements those principles. It will discuss all the strategic threats facing the alliance, and the capabilities that we need to meet them, including nuclear deterrence and missile defence. The argument that my right hon. and learned Friend presents will be part of that review.