Ministry of Defence

Written Answer – RAF Machrihanish, Defence, 19 Dec 2013

Angus Robertson (SNP Westminster Leader; Moray, Scottish National Party)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence
(1) when it was agreed to allow the stationing of nuclear weapons from the US at RAF Machrihanish; who approved the deployment; and how many weapons and what type were involved;

(2) for how long nuclear weapons from the US were stationed at RAF Machrihanish; what the methods of transportation were to and from the base; what arrangements were in place for storage; and whether RAF aircraft were authorised to deliver the weapons in a nuclear strike.

Mark Francois (The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence; Rayleigh and Wickford, Conservative)
Since the early 1950s the US has had the ability to base their nuclear weapons in the UK. However we do not comment on deployment policy. This policy is applied across NATO. RAF Machrihanish was returned to the Ministry of Defence in June 1995.

Written Answers, RAF Machrihanish – Defence, 19 Dec 2013

Angus Robertson (SNP Westminster Leader; Moray, Scottish National Party)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence
(1) when it was agreed to allow the stationing of nuclear weapons from the US at RAF Machrihanish; who approved the deployment; and how many weapons and what type were involved;

(2) for how long nuclear weapons from the US were stationed at RAF Machrihanish; what the methods of transportation were to and from the base; what arrangements were in place for storage; and whether RAF aircraft were authorised to deliver the weapons in a nuclear strike.

Mark Francois (The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence; Rayleigh and Wickford, Conservative)
Since the early 1950s the US has had the ability to base their nuclear weapons in the UK. However we do not comment on deployment policy. This policy is applied across NATO. RAF Machrihanish was returned to the Ministry of Defence in June 1995.

Written Answer, Trident Submarines – Defence,  18 Dec 2013

Alison Seabeck (Shadow Minister (Defence); Plymouth, Moor View, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department is taking to prepare a preliminary proposal for refuelling the Vanguard class submarines; what the timetable is for that work; and what budget has been set aside for that work.

Philip Dunne (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence; Ludlow, Conservative)
In line with the strategic defence and security review, the Ministry of Defence is planning the additional work that is needed to extend the life of the Vanguard class submarines to maintain continuous at sea deterrence until the successor submarines have entered service. This includes an additional deep maintenance period (DMP) for each submarine in the class, starting with HMS Vanguard in 2015. The work to be undertaken in the first additional DMP continues to be developed and the full scope will be finalised around spring 2014.

Written Ministerial Statement, Successor Submarine Programme, Defence, 16 Dec 2013

Philip Hammond (The Secretary of State for Defence; Runnymede and Weybridge, Conservative)
On 18 May 2011, my predecessor, Dr Fox made an oral statement to the House, Hansard, column 351, announcing the approval of the initial gate investment stage for the procurement of the successor submarines to the Vanguard class. He also placed a report “The United Kingdom’s Future Nuclear Deterrent: The Submarine Initial Gate Parliamentary Report” in the Library of the House.
This Government have committed to publishing an annual report on the programme and I am today publishing the second report, “The United Kingdom’s Future Nuclear Deterrent: 2013 Update to Parliament”. A copy has been placed in the Library of the House.

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence, Topical Questions, 16 December 2013

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North, Labour)
The Secretary of State will be pleased to know that I have looked at “The United Kingdom’s Future Nuclear Deterrent” report, which he has just placed before the House. Page 5 gives me great concern, however, because it seems to assert that the programme is on track and on budget, and then goes on to predict savings thereafter. Those two things seem to me possibly to be in conflict. Will he assure me that there is no commitment to spending money beyond this Parliament in 2016, in relation to making the main-gate decision, when the new Parliament will have the right to decide the future of the whole programme?

Philip Hammond (The Secretary of State for Defence; Runnymede and Weybridge, Conservative)
Yes. Some £3 billion has been earmarked for spending before the next election, and the expectation is that that will have been committed, but that is the total commitment that will have been made at that time. That includes money that will not be disbursed until some time during the next Parliament, but which will have been committed.

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence: North Korea – 16 December 2014

Fiona Bruce (Congleton, Conservative)
(Urgent Question): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on North Korea following the execution of Jang Sung-taek.

Hugo Swire (The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; East Devon, Conservative)
I thank my hon. Friend for bringing this issue to the House’s attention and commend her for her tireless work as vice-chair of the all-party group on North Korea.

We are deeply concerned to learn of the execution of Jang Sung-taek. It is yet another example of the horrifying and surreal brutality of the North Korean regime, which presides over what Carl Bildt, the Swedish Foreign Minister, has called an “empire of horror”. We remain deeply concerned about the impact of that unpredictable regime on regional stability.

Jang Sung-taek’s execution and the reports of executions of people associated with him reinforce our significant concerns about North Korea’s appalling human rights record, which we assess to be one of the worst, if not the worst, in the world. The United Kingdom has consistently raised concerns about the severe and systematic human rights violations carried out by the North Korean Government, including reports of executions; the lack of any sort of basic judicial process; the severe curtailment of all freedoms, including freedom of thought, movement and religion; the systematic use of torture; and the horrific stories emanating from the gulags.

The United Kingdom has been at the forefront of raising those concerns in international forums. This year we co-sponsored two human rights resolutions in the United Nations. We also supported the introduction of a UN commission of inquiry, which will report to the Human Rights Council in March 2014. In October, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office sponsored a visit to the UK by the inquiry panel. The panel heard harrowing accounts from North Korean refugees about systematic abuses of even the most basic human rights. I met the panel and confirmed the United Kingdom’s full and unequivocal support for its work. I am pleased that parliamentarians had the opportunity to meet the panel and discuss its work.

Given the opaque nature of the North Korean leadership, the implications of Jang’s execution remain unclear. Our embassy in Pyongyang reports that the situation on the ground is currently calm. We will continue to monitor the situation closely, not least during the anniversary of Kim Jong-il’s death tomorrow. We are alert to the possibility that the regime may use that as an opportunity to bolster public support for its leader.

It remains to be seen whether the execution will strengthen Kim Jong-un’s power or whether it indicates political instability and a struggle for power. We are in close contact with the United States and the Republic of Korea, and we will speak to other members of the six-party talks in the coming days.

Fiona Bruce (Congleton, Conservative)
I thank the Minister for that reply. As he said, Jang Sung-taek’s execution was just the most high-profile of many. For some six decades, the North Korean people have suffered intolerably. People are incarcerated merely for their beliefs, or for speaking a few words that the leadership objects to. Children are treated as prisoners from birth, and those who try to escape the regime risk not only imprisonment or worse for themselves but punishment for up to three generations of their family. An incalculable number of North Koreans have been, and continue to be, worked to death, frozen to death, burned to death, gassed to death or tortured in the most unimaginable ways. In short, the North Korean people are the most persecuted on earth.

Just because this terrible situation has persisted for so long—over three generations—that cannot be a reason for the international community not to address it as a priority. Millions live at or near starvation while international charities say that food aid, if accompanied—and there are the means—will reach them. What more will our Government do to help them through the Department for International Development and otherwise? Food should never be used as a weapon of war.

Given that a major weapon in ending Stalin’s reign of terror was the role that this country played by broadcasting the BBC World Service and breaking the Soviet information blockade—the same has been done more recently with the Burmese information blockade—and given the Foreign Secretary’s role in setting the World Service’s strategic objectives, will the Minister consider extending the BBC World Service to the Korean peninsula?

Having read Amnesty’s recent report on the expansion of North Korean prison camps, which are incarcerating some 300,000 people, and following the recent spate of executions—including that of Jang Sung-taek—the show trials, force-fed propaganda, and an ideology that has starved 2 million to death, and bearing in mind that the UK is now home to the largest number of North Korean refugees outside South Korea, should we not do all in our power, both as a country and as a leader in the international community, to help end North Korea’s reign of terror?

Hugo Swire (The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; East Devon, Conservative)
My hon. Friend’s almost fantastical description of North Korea is, alas, not fantastical but only too true. To call it an Orwellian nightmare would be a cliché and would not give a clear enough indication of the horrors vested on the people of that country by its leaders.

I think the United Kingdom is playing an important part. My hon. Friend will be aware that we fully support theUnited Nations Human Rights Council agreement to establish a commission of inquiry. That was a unanimous vote—which is unusual on such issues—and was proposed in a resolution presented by the EU and Japan, and co-sponsored by more than 40 countries. As my hon. Friend knows, that commission will look at all those issues, particularly the prison camps as well as other matters such as human rights abuses, and report back in March 2014.

My hon. Friend asked about food aid to North Korea, which is understandable given the reports emanating from that country about food shortages. There are even some alarmist reports about how people are going about eating, which, again, are too horrific to recount. The United Kingdom does not currently have a bilateral development programme in North Korea, and neither do we provide money to international organisations specifically for use in North Korea. However, some non-earmarked funds that we provide to organisations

such as the World Food Programme may be used for humanitarian programmes in that country. Our embassy in Pyongyang uses some of its bilateral funding for small-scale humanitarian programmes such as nutrition for nursing mothers and greenhouses for children’s homes, although that remains under regular review.

My hon. Friend also asked about the ongoing issue of the BBC and broadcasting to North Korea, which I know is something that the North Korea all-party group has discussed and a matter that Lord Alton of Liverpoolhas been pushing hard. The BBC has been in touch with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office about the issue—or vice-versa, I should say. It is primarily an issue for the BBC, which has, of course, full editorial, operational and managerial independence. We understand that it is not currently persuaded that a Korean language service would be an effective value-for-money use of available resources. Nevertheless, our embassy in Pyongyang is working with BBC Worldwide on an initiative to broadcast BBC drama, nature and science programmes on North Korean television. We believe that that has the potential to expose significant numbers of North Koreans to aspects of the outside world from which they are normally totally isolated.

Kerry McCarthy (Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs); Bristol East, Labour)
I thank the Minister for his response and Fiona Bruce for raising this issue. The House is united in its condemnation of the North Korean regime, and we share the view of the Foreign Office that this execution is another shocking illustration of the brutality of the North Korean leadership. We also echo concerns about the shocking levels of hunger and poverty in North Korea, as well as the many human rights abuses.

It seems likely that the execution was intended as a show of strength by Kim Jong-un, and to the wider world it has also been taken as an indication of his insecurity and volatility. It comes after a year that has seen an even more provocative and unpredictable stance from Pyongyang, including nuclear threats to theUSA, and the declaration of a state of war with South Korea. Recent satellite images published by Amnesty International indicate that the largest prison camps are continuing to expand. The international community responded calmly and—crucially—with a united front to attempts to escalate tensions earlier this year, and it is important that that consensus continues.

Given that an urgent question has been granted today, the House must turn its attention to what can be done in the immediate future to try to address the situation. Have the Government made any assessment of the possible implications of the execution for the North Korean leadership and the wider region? The Ministermentioned that discussions have already taken place with the USA and the Republic of Korea, but have any conversations been held yet with Chinese officials, or will that happen in the near future? It has been reported that Jang Sung-taek had been building trade links with China, prompting some speculation about a change in economic policy. What is the Minister’s assessment of such reports, and of the nature of North Korea’s current relationship with China? I was in the Republic of Korea earlier this year, and my understanding is that the relationship is under some strain. Was North Korea discussed during the Prime Minister’s recent visit to China?

More generally, can the Minister elaborate on what influence he thinks China can potentially exercise? Given that both the United Kingdom and China were recently elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council, what action does he think the council can take, and, most crucially, what prospect does he envisage of any response at all from North Korea? As he said, the UN commission of inquiry on human rights in North Korea is due to report in March. Will he tell us what recommendations the Government would like it to make?

Given the unanimous support for UN security resolutions, which has already been mentioned, will the Minister be taking the matter up with the UN Security Council, and what does he think could be achieved by his doing so?

Hugo Swire (The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; East Devon, Conservative)
I thank the hon. Lady for the spirit of consensus in which she framed her questions. We are clearly very much on the same page.

The hon. Lady made an assertion about the implications of, or the reasons for, the execution. I must pause to think about that. There is a total lack of clarity in regard to what the execution was about, and an equal lack of clarity in regard to the implications for what will happen next. I have read a number of reports this morning, and each of them is speculative. So the answer is “We do not know.” Whether we will ever know is also a legitimate question, but as things stand, we simply do not know.

The hon. Lady asked whether the Prime Minister had raised the matter in China during our recent visit. The answer is yes, and, as she would imagine, it was also raised during the visit of President Park of the Republic of Korea during her recent state visit. She asked what more China could do. China has a 900-mile border with North Korea, it has a very real and present interest in North Korea, and we believe that it has a key role to play in the country’s future. She also asked what kind of relationship the current North Korean regime had with China. Again, we simply do not know, because we do not understand the thinking behind the leadership as it stands.

The hon. Lady asked what the British Government would like from the commission of inquiry. The commission will report to the United Nations in March 2014, and, as she will understand, it would be inappropriate for us to comment on the recommendations before we have seen the full report. I believe that the unanimity shown by the United Nations Human Rights Council and its reporting will be extremely important in respect of what we do next. We would like the six-party talks to resume as soon as possible, but at this stage I cannot envisage their resuming until we see some sort of gesture of good will from the regime in Pyongyang. Such a gesture would be more than welcome; at present, as the hon. Lady and the House will know, such a gesture is very much absent.

Several hon. Members: rose—

John Bercow (Speaker)
Order. A great many right hon. and hon. Members are seeking to catch my eye. I must emphasise that the Second Reading debate on the Care Bill, which is to follow, is very heavily subscribed. We are therefore somewhat time-constrained, which renders pithiness from Back and Front Benches alike imperative.

Sir John Stanley (Tonbridge and Malling, Conservative)
Given that the United Kingdom remains a member of the armistice commission which was established at the end of the Korean war, can my right hon. Friend give an unequivocal assurance that, in the event of further military provocations from the north and a military response from the south, the United Kingdom Government will use their position as a member of the commission to do their utmost to ensure that military action by both sides does not escalate out of control?

Hugo Swire (The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; East Devon, Conservative)
My right hon. Friend talks about a military response. We are doing everything in our power to avoid any regional instability or military response by any side in the region. There are several worrying areas in that part of the world, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is contributing to the general instability. We work closely with our partners in the six-party talks and liaise closely with both the Republic of Korea and our American allies, and we shall continue to do that.

Gisela Stuart (Birmingham, Edgbaston, Labour)
Will the Minister have slightly more robust conversations with the BBC, encourage it to look at the issue of transmitters into North Korea and point out to it that BBC documentaries and drama, however entertaining they may be, are not really the answer? What is needed is the World Service and access.

Hugo Swire (The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; East Devon, Conservative)
The hon. Lady will no doubt be aware that we have these discussions with the BBC. As I say, my noble Friend Lord Alton of Liverpool has been leading on this, and the BBC has taken a view and is communicating it to him. There are reasons to do it and there are reasons not to do it, but at the end of the day, the BBC has the independence to decide where and to whom to broadcast.

Menzies Campbell (North East Fife, Liberal Democrat)
I share the expressions of distaste, even disgust, that we have heard, but I wonder if I might be forgiven for saying that we have to keep some sense of realism. Is not the truth that for the foreseeable future the best we can hope for is to pursue successfully a policy of containment and deterrence?

Hugo Swire (The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; East Devon, Conservative)
My right hon. and learned Friend, who speaks with considerable wisdom, is entirely right. Yes, containment is important, but equally we want the DPRK to halt its programme to develop nuclear capability in violation of every known international agreement. That is what this is about. We do not want North Korea to become a nuclear state. We cannot act unilaterally to prevent it, but we can act together with our partners in the six-party talks.

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North, Labour)
I share the Minister’s horror at the execution last week and I condemn the death penalty in any circumstances anywhere, but it has served to highlight the abuse of human rights throughout North Korea. Have the six-party talks at any stage included a discussion about human rights? When they are resumed, will he ensure that human rights are brought into the equation?

Hugo Swire (The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; East Devon, Conservative)
It is almost impossible to conceive any discussion involving the abuses of the regime in Pyongyang not including its horrific abuse of human rights—as I said in my opening remarks, perhaps currently the worst of any regime anywhere in the world.

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (The Cotswolds, Conservative)
Does my right hon. Friend agree that the best way to start breaking down barriers in North Korea is through contact with the outside world? Will he use his position therefore to encourage contacts withSouth Korea in Kaesong? Furthermore, will he encourage the BBC to consider broadcasting into North Korea—it would be not a cost-effective, but a diplomatic decision—and encourage maximum contact with China through trade?

Hugo Swire (The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; East Devon, Conservative)
Yes to the last point. I have just accompanied the Prime Minister to China on the largest ever prime ministerial-led trade delegation anywhere—it included more than 150 companies—so UK-Chinese bilateral trade is incredibly important. I believe that I have addressed the BBC issue. On my hon. Friend’s other point, I would say: that is why we have an embassy in Pyongyang. Some people say, “If you can’t penetrate the mind of the regime, why have an embassy in Pyongyang?” He has answered that question: a chink of light is better than no light at all. That we have a diplomatic presence in North Korea is welcomed by Seoul and Washington, with whom we work closely on these matters. It is important that whenever we see a chink of light, we try to widen it to expose to the people of North Korea that there is a better world out there. I do not believe that the regime can keep them downtrodden forever.

Gavin Shuker (Shadow Minister (International Development); Luton South, Labour)
Will the Minister lay out his thinking about the parallel process of the six-party talks and the other avenues the Foreign Office is pursuing in trying to resolve this issue?

Hugo Swire (The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; East Devon, Conservative)
The correct place to resume negotiations is through the six-party talks. That is key. It brings in all the interested parties in the region and, obviously, the United States. Without those talks, I do not believe that sufficient progress could be made, and as I said earlier I do not think it is possible for those talks to resume without a gesture from the North Koreans, but obviously that gesture is sadly lacking.

Andrew Selous (South West Bedfordshire, Conservative)
Given that we already send food aid to some pretty unpalatable regimes around the world, could we ask the Department for International Development to look again at the issue of North Korea?

Hugo Swire (The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; East Devon, Conservative)
I have already said that the situation is currently under review, and I will certainly raise it again with colleagues in DFID. I think there are reasons why we do not give food aid to North Korea, not least because of the great difficulty of ensuring that it ended up in the right place. I will make a commitment to my hon. Friend, who takes a keen interest in these matters—and rightly so—that I will speak to my DFID colleagues on the issue he raised and I will get back to him.

Kevin Brennan (Shadow Minister (Education); Cardiff West, Labour)
It is difficult to envisage any people anywhere in the world who would not benefit more greatly from the BBC World Service than the people of North Korea. The Minister said in response to my hon. Friend Ms Stuart that there were reasons why the BBC had decided not to broadcast into North Korea. Will he now share those reasons with us?

Hugo Swire (The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; East Devon, Conservative)
The BBC takes a view about where its resources are best employed and about how people can best access its broadcasting abilities. At the end of the day, whatever representations we make to the BBC, it quite properly makes the final decision on where it wants to broadcast. That is how the BBC is enshrined in charter, and it is how it should remain.

Tony Baldry (Banbury, Conservative)
Do not recent events in North Korea demonstrate the need for a clear, continuous and candid dialogue between the Foreign Office and the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs? Does my right hon. Friend agree that the Prime Minister’s recent visit to China was extremely welcome in thickening and deepening the UK’s relations with that country?

Hugo Swire (The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; East Devon, Conservative)
My right hon. Friend is absolutely right. I was encouraged by the levels of access that the Prime Minister and his ministerial team were granted by the Chinese authorities. Political and diplomatic relations are now good, while bilateral trade is, of course, extremely good and inward investment is good. It is critical, as my right hon. Friend says, that China continues to play a lead role in trying to resolve what has been for many decades now an impenetrable problem of this rogue despotic regime in North Korea, treading on the lives of its people. This cannot go on indefinitely. It is up to all of us in the international community not only to prevent some of the regional instabilities created by this situation, but to do something for the people who are living there in the most horrific circumstances.

Jim Shannon (Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health); Strangford, DUP)
About 20% of North Korea’s Christians are in jail. What discussions did the Prime Minister have on his recent economic visit to China about leaning on North Korea in order to gain a relaxation or easement of the persecution of Christians?

Hugo Swire (The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; East Devon, Conservative)
The hon. Gentleman, who always speak up for Christians, is right. Alas, it is not only the Christian community in North Korea that is so downtrodden. We raised our general concerns about this issue and human rights in North Korea with officials from the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairsmost recently in November 2013. I have to tell the hon. Gentleman, however, that making significant progress on human rights and the protection of minorities such as Christians is difficult, because the North Korean Government refuse to enter into meaningful discussions on these matters.

Robert Buckland (South Swindon, Conservative)
What assessment does my right hon. Friend make of reports of widespread public indoctrination sessions occurring in North Korea? Does that not reinforce the point that greater outside influence must be brought to bear if we are to see change in this despicable regime and change for the people of North Korea?

Hugo Swire (The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; East Devon, Conservative)
My hon. Friend will no doubt wish to discuss that at the meeting of the Conservative group on North Korea that I believe is taking place tomorrow. He mentions indoctrination, and I have to say that the levels of indoctrination that go on there are almost surreal—incomparable to any other regime or country in the world. It is truly horrific, with almost every aspect of the Korean people’s lives being the result of indoctrination. That is why, as I said, we maintain an embassy because any chink of light is better than no light at all, but it is a long haul and it is difficult work.

Tobias Ellwood (Bournemouth East, Conservative)
The Minister will be aware that many North Koreans in touch with families in South Korea have reported not only that the number of indoctrination sessions has increased, but that targeted individuals are being forced to write letters of loyalty to the leader, Kim Jong-un. Does that not suggest that Jang’s execution is part of a wider campaign to consolidate power as the economy continues to fail?

Hugo Swire (The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; East Devon, Conservative)
There are indeed reports that Jang has taken the blame for the desperate state of the economy, and there are also reports that this is the work of the military and not of the leader, but all these are just that: reports. We could indulge ourselves all afternoon by speculating about the reasons behind this. The answer is we do not know. The one fact of which we are certain is that the people of North Korea are suffering in a way that some of us can only guess at, and some of us would not wish that treatment to be vested on even our worst enemies.

Philip Hollobone (Kettering, Conservative)
To what extent is North Korea sharing nuclear weapons technology with Iran?

Hugo Swire (The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; East Devon, Conservative)
We remain extremely concerned about proliferation of any sort. There has been evidence in the past of trade between North Korea and Iran which is why it is so vital that everybody adheres to the sanctions regime that is currently imposed.

Written Answer, Sovereignty: Scotland – Defence, 10 Dec 2013

Ann McKechin (Glasgow North, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations his Department has received from the Scottish Government in the last 12 months on the proposed removal of the UK Trident nuclear submarines from Scottish waters in the event of Scottish independence, as set out in Scotland’s Future: Your Guide to An Independent Scotland.

Andrew Murrison (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence; South West Wiltshire, Conservative)
None. The Ministry of Defence has not received any srepresentation from the Scottish Government regarding the removal of the UK’s nuclear deterrent from Scotland in the event of independence.

Written Answer, Trident Submarines – Defence, 3 Dec 2013

Paul Flynn (Newport West, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list each of the contracts currently placed by his Department to develop a replacement for the Trident nuclear submarine which is covered by commercial confidentiality restrictions on disclosure of contract details

Philip Dunne (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence; Ludlow, Conservative)
There is a standard Defence Condition (DEFCON 521) on the disclosure of information that is mandated for all Ministry of Defence (MOD) contracts. This condition places duties of confidentiality on both parties to the contract, but makes clear that the MOD is required to comply with its statutory duties. When requests are received for contract details, decisions on their disclosure are made on a case by case basis, taking account of the commercial sensitivity, as well as other applicable exemptions and exceptions.

The list of contracts to develop the replacement for the Trident nuclear submarine will take time to prepare. I will write, to the extent possible, while not breaching commercial confidentiality or national security considerations, to the hon. Member with this information.

Substantive answer from Philip Dunne to Paul Flynn:

In my written answer to your Parliamentary Question on 20(th) November 2013, (Official Report, column 918W), I promised to write to you with a list of contracts relating to the replacement for the Vanguard Class submarines. I am now in a position to supply you with the following list of contracts:

Contract Description
1 Design Phase—BAES
2 Design Phase—Babcock
3 Design Phase—Rolls Royce
4 Design Phase—Collaboration
5 Mast Raising
6 Submarine Communications Technology Demonstrator Programme
7 Retention of Astute Test Rig
8 Submarine Communications
9 Safety and Environment
10 Strategic Weapon System Safety
11 Strategic Weapon System Requirements
12 Pressure Hull Materials
13 Pressure Hull Glands
14 Foreign and Commonwealth Office Services
15 Composites Programme (Technology Demonstrator Programme)
16 Successor Facilities—Barrow
17 Extension Engineering Assurance
18 Costs and Tools
19 Signatures
20 Requirements and Standards
21 Technical Assurance and Non Acoustic Signature
22 Electrical Actuator Future Work
23 Equipment Security Grading
24 Electro Magnetic Silencing
25 Electro Magnetic Silencing
26 Successor Stage 3 Environmental Shock Grade Curve Activities
27 Spatial Governance Technical Support
28 Variable Pressure Hydraulics Decision Support
29 Electromagnetic Silencing
30 Countermeasures Deployment Studies
31 Support to Signature Management
32 Core Task
33 Composite Task
34 Adviser Team to Future Submarine
35 Signature support to Future Submarine Project Team
36 Future Capability Support
37 Infrastructure Assessment Study
38 Capability System Requirement Document
39 Technology Assessment of Countermeasure Launcher capability
40 Provision of Signature Support
41 Provision of Subject Matter Expert Support
42 Submarine Communications Subject Matter Expert Technical Support
43 Successor Propulsor and Hydrodynamics
44 Independent Technical and Programme Support
45 Electrical and Whole Boat
46 Multi Function Broad Spectrum Array and Future Telemetry System trials
47 Next Generation Nuclear Propulsion Plant Phase 9
48 Next Generation Nuclear Propulsion Plant Phase 10 onwards
49 Independent Nuclear Propulsion Advice and Assessment
50 Submarines Support Partner Task


Written Answers, Trident Submarines – Defence, 20 Nov 2013

Paul Flynn (Newport West, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list each of the contracts currently placed by his Department to develop a replacement for the Trident nuclear submarine which is covered by commercial confidentiality restrictions on disclosure of contract details.

Philip Dunne (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence; Ludlow, Conservative)
There is a standard Defence Condition (DEFCON 521) on the disclosure of information that is mandated for all Ministry of Defence (MOD) contracts. This condition places duties of confidentiality on both parties to the contract, but makes clear that the MOD is required to comply with its statutory duties. When requests are received for contract details, decisions on their disclosure are made on a case by case basis, taking account of the commercial sensitivity, as well as other applicable exemptions and exceptions.

The list of contracts to develop the replacement for the Trident nuclear submarine will take time to prepare. I will write, to the extent possible, while not breaching commercial confidentiality or national security considerations, to the hon. Member with this information.

Written Answers, Trident Missiles – Defence, 18 Nov 2013

Angus Robertson (SNP Westminster Leader; Moray, Scottish National Party)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much he expects his Department to spend on the D-5 missile life extension programme in each of the next 10 years.

Philip Dunne (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence; Ludlow, Conservative)
Forecast and planned expenditure on the D5 missile life extension programme for the current and next two financial years (FY) are as follows:

Financial year £ million
2013-14 21.1 (forecast)
2014-15 31.7 (planned)
2015-16 37.5 (planned)

Spending plans for FY 2016-17 and beyond have not yet been agreed and will be set as part of the Government’s spending review process. Therefore, I am withholding details of the proposed spending beyond 2015-16 as to release this information would be likely to impact upon the formulation of Government policy.

Written Answer, Trident – Defence,  18 Nov 2013

Kevan Jones (Shadow Minister (Defence); North Durham, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his oral answer of 4 November 2013, what the cost to his Department in (a) time, (b) staffing costs and (c) any other categories was of the Trident Alternatives Review.

Philip Hammond (The Secretary of State for Defence; Runnymede and Weybridge, Conservative)
(holding answer 7 November 2013): When the Trident Alternatives review was announced, it was decided that costs would lie where they fell, within existing budgets of all relevant Departments. The Ministry of Defence did not centrally record the costs relating to the review. A comprehensive response could therefore be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Written Answers, Military Bases – Defence, 12 Nov 2013

 

Madeleine Moon (Bridgend, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which defence support group sites have the capacity to inspect and test nuclear biological and chemical clean air supply in military vehicles; what training is required for staff to carry out such work; and if he will make a statement.

Philip Dunne (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence; Ludlow, Conservative)
Defence Support Group (DSG) Ashchurch, Bovington and Donnington all have the capacity presently to inspect and test nuclear, biological and chemical clean air supply in military vehicles. All DSG employees undertaking this work are suitably qualified technicians working to required established procedures.

Written Answers, Armed Forces: Vehicles – Defence, 12 Nov 2013

Madeleine Moon (Bridgend, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many vehicles held by his Department offer nuclear, biological and chemical protection; which Defence Support Group sites are able to provide inspection and testing capability; and if he will make a statement.

Philip Dunne (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence; Ludlow, Conservative)
I am withholding information on the number of vehicles that offer protection against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) threats as its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.

The Defence Support Group sites at Ashchurch, Bovington and Donnington are able to provide inspection and testing capability for vehicles that have CBRN protection.

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence: Topical Questions – 4 November 2013

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North, Labour)
Will the Secretary of State tell the House how much money has so far been spent on preparations for the replacement of the Trident submarine system and, of course, the missile warheads that go with it, and what representations he has received within the higher echelons of the military not to go ahead with the replacement of Trident but to spend the money on something else?

Philip Hammond (Runnymede and Weybridge, Conservative)
As I have told the hon. Gentleman before, the figure is approximately £3 billion of commitments so far on design and early lead items. I am racking my brains, and I think I can say to him that since I have been in this post, which is just over two years, I have received no representation against the renewal of Trident from any senior officer in the armed forces.

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence: Trident Alternatives Study – 4 November 2013

Julian Lewis (New Forest East, Conservative)
What assessment he has made of the conclusions and utility of the Trident alternatives study.

Philip Hammond (Runnymede and Weybridge, Conservative)
I can tell my hon. Friend that the review demonstrated that no alternative system is as capable as a Trident-based deterrent, or as cost-effective. As to the utility, carrying out the review fulfilled a Government commitment but did not produce any unexpected conclusions.

Julian Lewis (New Forest East, Conservative)
Yes, well, it is good to know that the review came to such a predictable and predicted conclusion, but what does my right hon. Friend think of the fact that our coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats, have not adopted any of the options from the review but have decided instead to come off continuous at-sea deterrence and have only two Trident submarines? This was rejected as unworthy of consideration by the review, but now that even the Liberal Democrats want two submarines, should we take up the suggestion of the shadow armed forces Minister, Mr Jones, and try to sign a contract for them?

Philip Hammond (Runnymede and Weybridge, Conservative)
As my hon. Friend suggests, the reason a two-boat solution was not considered in the review is that it did not meet the hurdle test of providing a credible deterrent. I am actually rather more interested in the views of official Opposition Front Benchers on this matter than the views of our coalition partners. I welcome the fact—[Interruption.] Hang on a minute. I welcome the fact that the first visit in office by Vernon Coaker was to Barrow-in-Furness, the home of Britain’s submarine fleet.

Kevan Jones (North Durham, Labour)
On the alternatives review, at Defence questions on 2 September the Secretary of State told my right hon. Friend Mr Hanson, who had asked about costs:

“If he submits a written question to me, I will ask the Department to produce the best estimate”.—[Hansard, 2 September 2013; Vol. 567, c. 5.]

I have now tabled a number of parliamentary questions, but the Government seem to be refusing to produce a figure. May I gently ask the Secretary of State when he will produce the answer to my questions?

Philip Hammond (Runnymede and Weybridge, Conservative)
I am rather glad that the hon. Gentleman asked me that question. Let me tell him that the Cabinet Office has the lead on this matter because it was a Cabinet Office review. Any question that is phrased in general terms will be answered by the Cabinet Office; were a question to be phrased in very specific terms as to Ministry of Defence resources, then it would fall to me to answer it.

Written Answers to Questions — Defence: Nuclear Submarines – 29 October 2013

Angus Robertson (Moray, Scottish National Party)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 16 October 2013 on nuclear submarines, Official Report, column 743W, on what dates the power failure incidents occurred; what the rating was for each incident on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale; which submarines were involved in each incident; and if he will place in the Library the lessons learned review conducted for each incident.

Philip Dunne (Ludlow, Conservative)
Details of the four events involving the loss of electrical power to a nuclear submarine’s reactor cooling systems, when in port, are provided in the following table:

Date of event Submarine Port International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale
14 October 1996 HMS Spartan Her Majesty’s Naval Base (HMNB) Clyde Below scale
15 October 1997 HMS Splendid Rosyth Dockyard Below scale
8 May 2004 HMS Torbay HMNB Devonport Below scale
10 November 2005 HMS Sceptre HMNB Clyde Below scale
All of the events were rated as ‘below scale; on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES), because they had no safety significance when assessed against the criteria for rating events on the INES. I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 16 October 2013, Hansard, columns 742-43W, nuclear submarines have a diverse range of reactor cooling systems, including a dedicated system that is not dependent on electrical supplies.

I am withholding placing the reports into the Library of the House as their release would prejudice the capability, effectiveness and security of the armed forces.

Written Answer to Questions — Defence: Nuclear Submarines – 16 October 2013

Jim Shannon (Strangford, DUP)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking to increase safety on nuclear submarines.

Philip Dunne (Ludlow, Conservative)
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) applies a process of continuous improvement across all elements of the submarine programme, consistent with best practice in safety management and the requirements of regulators. This takes close account of lessons learned from incidents in the civil nuclear industry and in other areas of Defence.

In seeking safety improvements, the MOD works closely with industry, recognising the critical role of the UK’s nuclear submarine supply chain in delivering safe submarines.

Submarine safety is also being driven forward through an initiative known as NavySafe. A key element of this is improving the reporting of safety events, to allow lessons to be drawn more effectively from past experience.

Engineering improvements are continually being incorporated into in-service submarines, with major refits providing a valuable opportunity to incorporate improvements to key submarine systems.

Written Answer to Questions — Defence: Nuclear Submarines – 16 October 2013

Angus Robertson (Moray, Scottish National Party)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions power to a nuclear submarine’s reactor cooling systems has failed when in port in each submarine base in the last 20 years.

Philip Dunne (Ludlow, Conservative)
holding answer 14 October 2013

Nuclear submarines have a diverse range of reactor cooling systems, including a dedicated system that is not dependent on electrical supplies.

There have been four events in the last 20 years involving the loss of electrical power to a nuclear submarine’s reactor cooling systems when in port: two while at Her Majesty’s Naval Base (HMNB) Clyde, one at HMNB Devonport and one at Rosyth Dockyard.

In all four events there was no disruption to reactor cooling owing to the loss of electrical supplies.

Written Answer to Questions — Defence: USA – 13 September 2013

Russell Brown (Dumfries and Galloway, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department is taking to improve defence technology co-operation between the UK and US.

Philip Dunne (Ludlow, Conservative)
The Strategic Defence and Security Review published on 19 October 2010 emphasised that the US remains the UK’s primary strategic collaborator. We are currently strengthening our collaborative engagement with the US by increasing the proportion of our research programme undertaken on a collaborative basis in a number of key areas.

The UK/US Defence Trade Cooperation Treaty was brought into force in 2012 to facilitate closer UK/US cooperation, including between our industries. The Treaty simplifies transfer arrangements between the US and UK for certain categories of technology, when destined for UK and US Government end-use, and seeks to improve interoperability and the delivery of capability to our armed forces.

US-UK cooperation on nuclear technology continues to be enhanced through the 1958 Mutual Defence Agreement.

Written Answer to Questions — Defence: Trident – 9 September 2013

David Hanson (Delyn, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the cost to the public purse of the Trident Alternatives Review.

Danny Alexander (Chief Secretary, HM Treasury; Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, Liberal Democrat)
I have been asked to reply as the Minister responsible for the Trident Alternatives Review.

I refer the right hon. Member to the answer I gave to Thomas Docherty, Mr Jones and John Woodcock on 2 September 2013, Hansard, column 6W.

Written Answer to Questions — Defence: Nuclear Weapons – 4 September 2013

Angus Robertson (Moray, Scottish National Party)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence

(1) if he will estimate the value of all the nuclear warheads and their D5 delivery system in the UK’s current arsenal;

(2) if he will estimate the value of Atomic Weapons Establishment.

Philip Dunne (Ludlow, Conservative)
As at 31 March 2013, the net book value of the nuclear warhead stockpile was £273.7 million, the D5 missile pool was £419.3 million, and the

Atomic Weapons Establishment was £2,785.9 million.

The net book values bear no relation to the replacement costs of the assets and capabilities.

Written Answer to Questions — Defence: Nuclear Weapons – 4 September 2013

Angus Robertson (Moray, Scottish National Party)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence

(1) how many nuclear emergency exercises have been held in each location in each of the last two years;

(2) which Ministry of Defence nuclear emergency exercises and at which location took place in Scotland in the last three years; which of these exercises were assessed as adequate demonstrations of the emergency response by regulators; and what the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator’s findings and observations were of each exercise.

Philip Dunne (Ludlow, Conservative)
Nuclear emergency exercises held in the last two years 2011 and 2012 are listed in the following table:

Location 2011 2012 2013
Albemarle Barracks, Newcastle 0 1 0
Atomic Weapons Establishment Aldermaston 1 1 0
Atomic Weapons Establishment Burghfield 1 1 0
BAE Systems Marine, Barrow 3 2 0
Bramley Military Training Centre, Hampshire 0 1 1
Defence Training Establishment, Caerwent, Monmouthshire 1 0 0
Exercises at sea 1 1 1
Her Majesty’s Naval Base (HMNB) Clyde 4 1 0
HMNB Clyde (Coulport) 1 0 1
HMNB Clyde (Loch Goil) 0 0 1
Devonport 1 1 0
HMNB Gibraltar 1 1 0
HMNB Portsmouth 1 1 0
Loch Ewe, Aultbey 0 1 1
Naval Support Facility, Diego Garcia 1 1 0
Port of Southampton 0 1 0
Portland Port, Dorset 0 0 1
Rolls-Royce Marine Power Operations Raynesway, Derby 1 2 0
Rosyth Royal Dockyard 1 1 0
Royal Air Force Honington, Suffolk 1 1 0
Royal Air Force Hullavington, Wiltshire 1 0 0
Royal Air Force Upper Heyford, Oxfordshire 0 1 0
Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS), Prestwick 2 0 0
Vulcan Naval Reactor Test Establishment (NRTE) Dounreay 1 1 1
Note: These figures include re-demonstration exercises
Nuclear emergency exercises held in Scotland during the three years 2010, 2011 and 2012 are as follows:

Exercise name Location Year Adequate demonstration
Evening Star 10 HMNB Clyde 2010 Yes
Lonestar 10 Vulcan NRTE Dounreay 2010 Yes
Nightstar(1) Rosyth Royal Dockyard 2010 Yes
Strathport 10 HMNB Clyde (Loch Goil) 2010 Yes
Astral Climb 11 RNAS Prestwick 2011 Yes
Bowline 11 HMNB Clyde 2011 Yes
Bowline 11—Phase 1 Re-demonstration HMNB Clyde 2011 Yes
Bowline 11—Phase 5 Demonstration HMNB Clyde 2011 Yes
Evening Star 11 HMNB Clyde 2011 Yes
Lonestar 11 Vulcan NRTE Dounreay 2011 Yes
Nightstar(1) Rosyth Royal Dockyard 2011 Yes
Senator 11 RNAS Prestwick 2011 Yes
Sheetbend 10 HMNB Clyde (Coulport) 2011 Yes
Highport 12 Loch Ewe, Aultbey 2012 No
Lonestar 12 Vulcan NRTE Dounreay 2012 Yes
Nightstar(1) Rosyth Royal Dockyard 2012 Yes
Short Sermon 12 HMNB Clyde 2012 Yes
Highport 12-Re-demonstration Loch Ewe, Aultbey 2013 Yes
(1) Assessed by the Office for Nuclear Regulation not the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator.
Nuclear emergency exercises form part of regular safety programmes to test and demonstrate the effectiveness of procedures, facilities, systems and equipment. An adequate demonstration means that the emergency arrangements meet the exceptionally high standards required for nuclear activities; any areas identified for improvement are acted on accordingly.

The Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator’s findings and observations of the exercises will be placed in the Library of the House following a review to identify whether any information in the reports needs to be withheld, consistent with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act.

Written Answer to Questions — Defence: Nuclear Submarines – 2 September 2013

Paul Flynn (Newport West, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 19 June 2013, Official Report, column 719W on HMS Tireless, on how many occasions radioactive emissions were vented to the atmosphere from nuclear powered submarines at Devonport Dockyard in each of the last five years; what quantity of radioactivity and which radionuclides were emitted in such fashion in each of the last three years; what the permitted levels of discharge are under such circumstances; and which regulatory agency sets such limits.

Philip Dunne (Ludlow, Conservative)
I will write to the hon. Member with the information requested.

Substantive answer from Philip Dunne to Paul Flynn:

I undertook to write to you in answer to your parliamentary question of 2 July 2013, Hansard, column 602W, about radioactive emissions that were vented to the atmosphere from nuclear powered submarines at Devonport Dockyard.

Due to the nature of the maintenance work conducted within the dockyard, the reactor compartment of each submarine undergoing maintenance is considered to be an aerial discharge point (a location where venting into the atmosphere outside the submarine may take place) when relevant work is being conducted.

The quantity of radioactivity discharged is monitored, but the discharge is treated as continuous and is not accounted for as individual discharges. These are accounted for in terms of “collective days”, each of which is a day where there is a discharge into the atmosphere from one submarine. Discharges from multiple submarines on one calendar day would therefore be recorded as multiple collective days.

The total number of collective days in the last five years is as follows:

Collective days
2008 1,201
2009 1,523
2010 1,119
2011 1,497
2012 1,245
There are no specific limits for discharges into the atmosphere from submarines, but annual limits for discharges into the atmosphere from the dockyard as a whole are set by the Environment Agency. These are shown in the following table, measured in Megabecquerels (MBq), the standard unit for measuring radioactivity:

Radionuclide Annual limit (MBq)
Tritium 4,000
Carbon-14 43,000
Argon-41 15,000
Other Beta/Gamma emitters 0.3
The total quantities of radioactivity discharged to the atmosphere from submarines in the dockyard in the last three years are as follows:

Total radioactivity discharged (MBq)
2010 b.03
2011 0.01
2012 5.28
The figure for 2012 comprises 0.02 MBq of routine discharges and 5.26 MBq of discharges resulting from testing of a new reactor core, which is why the figure is higher than for previous years.

I should like to add that the discharge from HMS Tireless is not included in the tables above, as this took place at Her Majesty’s Naval Base Devonport, not the dockyard. This was the only such discharge at the Naval Base in the last five years; the quantity of radioactivity released has been confirmed as being less than the 50 MBq limit set by the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator.

Consistent with my answer on the coolant leak of 14 May 2013, Hansard, column 153W, I am withholding details of the radiological inventory of discharges as their disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence: Nuclear Deterrent – 2 September 2013

Oliver Colvile (Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport, Conservative)
What assessment he has made of the cost and credibility of a nuclear deterrent based on a cruise missile system.

Philip Hammond (Runnymede and Weybridge, Conservative)
A range of cruise missile-based systems were examined as part of the recent Trident alternatives review. The evidence showed that any cruise missile option was more vulnerable and had significantly reduced reach compared with a Trident-based deterrent. Additionally, it would be more costly, requiring the design and development of a new warhead, as well as a new missile.

Oliver Colvile (Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport, Conservative)
I am grateful to my right hon. Friend, but will he give me a commitment that in any future negotiations with our coalition partners after the next general election, if by some misfortune no single party should gain an outright majority, our party would return a continuous-at-sea deterrent with four nuclear submarines?

Philip Hammond (Runnymede and Weybridge, Conservative)
The Government’s position is that we will maintain continuous-at-sea deterrence, and to do that we are preparing to go ahead at the main-gate decision in 2016 with the delivery of replacement submarines. I fear I would be straying beyond my remit if I were to speculate on negotiations that may or may not take place after the next election.

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North, Labour)
What is the Secretary of State’s latest estimate of the cost of replacing both the warheads and the submarine system, ahead of the main-gate decision in 2016? Has he given further consideration to the possibility of us not renewing Trident in order to help bring about a nuclear-free world more rapidly rather than re-arming ourselves and thus delaying the possibility of a nuclear-free world?

Philip Hammond (Runnymede and Weybridge, Conservative)
On the last point, I think that history teaches us that unilateral abandonment of nuclear weapons is not the way to bring about a more rapid elimination of those weapons, much as we would all like to see that happen. I can tell the hon. Gentleman that the estimates produced in the 2006 White Paper for the cost of replacing the existing submarines with a four-boat solution were between £15 billion and £20 billion—in terms of the 2006 economic conditions—and they remain unchanged.

Julian Lewis (New Forest East, Conservative)
In order that the Secretary of State does not keep having to tell us that he must not go above his pay grade, will he carry the message back to No. 10 that as Labour Front Benchers say they are willing to sign up to two of the four boats before the next election, and as the majority of people in this House would like to have that main-gate decision implemented at least in part, why should we not go ahead so that we cannot be blackmailed by the Liberal Democrats in the event of a hung Parliament after the general election?

Philip Hammond (Runnymede and Weybridge, Conservative)
I understand my hon. Friend’s point of view. He has on other occasions raised the issue of entering into a contract for the submarines at an early stage. Our current way of managing our equipment programme is to enter into contracts with industry at the point at which projects are mature enough to enable us to secure the best possible value for money for the taxpayer. Entering into a contract at this stage, when the project is relatively immature, would not represent value for money.

Answers – Defence: Clyde Submarine Base – 8 July 2013

Lady Hermon (North Down, Independent)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent research has been carried out by his Department into alternative base sites in the UK for the nuclear deterrent or submarines from HM Naval Base Clyde.

Philip Dunne (Ludlow, Conservative)
None.

Written Answer – Defence: Nuclear Accident Response Organisation – 4 July 2013

Angus Robertson (Moray, Scottish National Party)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence at which locations Ministry of Defence Nuclear Accident Response Organisation teams are based.

Andrew Murrison (South West Wiltshire, Conservative)
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) maintains a national Nuclear Accident Response Organisation (NARO) to respond to incidents or emergencies, including any arising through terrorist acts, involving a range of Defence assets.

The MOD NARO is made up of specialists, subject matter experts and capabilities that are drawn from across the MOD and its agencies including, where appropriate, components based at Defence nuclear sites, which would be used in response to any nuclear incident or emergency.

Written Answer – Defence: Nuclear Weapons – 4 July 2013

Angus Robertson (Moray, Scottish National Party)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence
(1) at which defence nuclear sites local liaison committees have been established to allow engagement with local stakeholders; which of these committees include representatives from independent non-government and non-industry groups; which of these committees allow members of the public to attend and observe meetings; and which of these committees publish minutes of meetings on a publicly accessible website;
(2) if he will place in the Library copies of the terms of reference and standing orders of each local liaison committee representing a defence nuclear site.

Andrew Murrison (South West Wiltshire, Conservative)
Defence nuclear sites with a Local Liaison Committee (LLC) are as follows:
Her Majesty’s Naval Base (HMNB) Clyde;
HMNB Devonport—Devonport Royal Dockyard;
The Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE);
Vulcan Naval Reactor Test Establishment (NRTE);
Rolls-Royce Marine Power Operations, Derby;
Rosyth Royal Dockyard; and
BAE Systems Marine, Barrow.

There is no prescribed structure for an LLC. Each LLC comprises representatives from the local community but, given the diverse roles of the defence related nuclear licensed sites, the type of representation varies between them, and is a matter for the individual site licensee.

The HMNB Devonport and Vulcan NRTE LLCs are open for members of the public to observe.

The following LLCs publish minutes of their meetings online at the following addresses:
HMNB Devonport
http://www.babcockinternational.com/about-us/responsibilities/community/devonport-royal-dockyard/devonport-local-liaison-committee/

The Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE)
http://www.awe.co.uk/aboutus/Local_Liaison_Committee_b1478.html

Vulcan Naval Reactor Test Establishment (NRTE)
http://www.dounreaystakeholdergroup.org/documents/

Terms of reference of each LLC will be placed in the Library of the House.

Answers – Defence: Warships – 2 July 2013

Austin Mitchell (Great Grimsby, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost is of building and equipping for sea a (a) minesweeper, (b) destroyer, (c) frigate, (d) nuclear submarine and (e) Trident-equipped submarine; how many such vessels are in active service; and when each such vessel was commissioned.

Philip Dunne (Ludlow, Conservative)
The information requested is provided in the following table.

The costs provided are based on actual costs at the time they were incurred and therefore do not reflect current build costs. They cover those vessels that have achieved their In Service Date (ISD). Total costs of equipping the platforms (which is an ongoing process through life), including those associated with Government Furnished Equipment, are not held centrally and could be provided at only disproportionate cost,

ISDs have been provided as they more accurately reflect a ship’s availability for ‘active service’ than commissioning dates.

Mine Countermeasure Vessels
In service date Build cost (£ million)(1)
Hunt Class
HMS Ledbury May 1981 31
HMS Cattistock May 1982 32
HMS Brocklesby October 1982 34
HMS Middleton July 1984 36
HMS Chiddingfold July 1984 37
HMS Hurworth June 1985 39
HMS Atherstone December 1986 42
HMS Quorn January 1989 46

Sandown Class
HMS Penzance January 1998 49
HMS Pembroke September 1998 48
HMS Grimsby May 1999 48
HMS Bangor December 1999 47
HMS Ramsey July 2000 44
HMS Blyth February 2001 44
HMS Shoreham November 2001 45

(1) The figures quoted above do not represent the total cost of the vessels. Some figures, such as those for Government Furnished Equipment, are no longer held centrally for each ship and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Type 45 Destroyers
In service date
HMS Daring July 2010
HMS Dauntless November 2010
HMS Diamond August 2011
HMS Dragon April 2012
HMS Defender March 2013
HMS Duncan, the final ship in class, is expected to achieve her ISD in March 2014.

The unit production cost for a T45 is £633 million. This figure includes the cost of the T45 platform and the Sea Viper missile system, but does not include the development costs of the T45 programme.

Type 23 Frigates
In service date Build cost (£ million)(1)
HMS Argyll November 1992 119
HMS Lancaster February 1993 120
HMS Iron Duke November 1993 110
HMS Monmouth March 1994 112
HMS Westminster March 1995 113
HMS Montrose September 1995 117
HMS Northumberland October 1995 115
HMS Richmond July 1996 116
HMS Somerset February 1997 114
HMS Sutherland December 1997 144
HMS Kent December 2000 108
HMS Portland September 2001 92
HMS St Albans September 2002 107
(1) The figures quoted above do not represent the total cost of the vessels. Some figures, such as those for Government Furnished Equipment, are no longer held centrally for each ship and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Trafalgar Class submarines
In service date
HMS Tireless October 1985
HMS Torbay March 1987
HMS Trenchant February 1989
HMS Talent May 1990
HMS Triumph November 1991
The build costs of these vessels are no longer held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Astute Class submarines

The first two (of seven) Astute Class submarines have achieved their ISD.

In service date
HMS Astute April 2010
HMS Ambush November 2012
HMS Artful, the third boat in class, is currently in build.

There is no unit cost for an Astute Class submarine as Boats one to three (Astute, Ambush, and Artful) were contracted as a batch with a total forecast cost of £3.4 billion, which includes cost of building the boats, the onboard communications system, and the tactical weapons system.

Vanguard Class submarines
In service date
HMS Vanguard August 1992
HMS Victorious March 1994
HMS Vigilant February 1996
HMS Vengeance March 1999
The total procurement cost for the four submarines was £3,587 million, which equates to approximately £897 million per submarine. This figure excludes the costs of the tactical and strategic weapons systems.

Answers – Defence: Nuclear Weapons – 24 June 2013

Angus Robertson (Moray, Scottish National Party)
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he has taken to ensure that Ministry of Defence personnel are on hand to provide advice to local emergency managers at the gold command level in the immediate aftermath of a radiation incident involving a truck cargo heavy duty nuclear weapons convoy.

Philip Dunne (Ludlow, Conservative)
In the unlikely event of an emergency, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) Incident Commander, who travels with the convoy in his role as the senior MOD Police officer, would be on the scene immediately to direct events and to work with the emergency services. The Joint Regional Liaison Officer for that geographical area would deploy immediately to undertake the MOD liaison duties at the strategic response centre (GOLD). In addition, a team of 11 appropriately qualified MOD personnel, led by the MOD co-ordinating authority, would deploy to GOLD as soon as possible.

Answers – Defence: HMS Tireless – 17 June 2013

Roger Godsiff (Birmingham, Hall Green, Labour) To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department has taken to prevent further leaks of coolant from HMS Tireless; and if he will take steps to ensure that replacement submarines are constructed in such a way as to ensure that such leaks cannot occur.

Philip Dunne (Ludlow, Conservative) The defect investigation into the recent leak of a very small quantity of coolant on HMS Tireless and the consequent repairs have both now been completed. The designs of Naval nuclear reactor plants are informed by lessons from earlier designs, including experience of any in-service defects. Such lessons are applied wherever practicable, including on submarines that are either being built or designed.

Written Answers – Defence: Staff – 25 April 2013

Kevan Jones (North Durham, Labour) To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which private companies are contractually employed by his Department for work relating to the nuclear deterrent and the Vanguard Successor Class submarine programme; and how many people are (a) directly and (b) indirectly employed as a result of each contract with each such company.

Philip Dunne (Ludlow, Conservative) The information relating to which suppliers are contractually employed is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost due to the number of suppliers involved in these programmes. In addition, the Ministry of Defence does not compile employment numbers on the defence equipment supply chain.

Written Answers – Defence: Nuclear Weapons – 25 April 2013

Tobias Ellwood (Bournemouth East, Conservative) To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what role would be played by the (a) Supreme Allied Commander Europe and (b) Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic in the decision-making process to deploy any UK nuclear missiles.

Andrew Robathan (South Leicestershire, Conservative) It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

Written Answers – Defence: Navy: Decommissioning – 25 April 2013

Bob Ainsworth (Coventry North East, Labour) To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish a list of all the elements of maritime capability which have been decommissioned since 2010.

Philip Dunne (Ludlow, Conservative) I have interpreted decommissioned to mean withdrawn from service in which case the following ships have been decommissioned, since 2010: the helicopter carriers HMS Ark Royal and HMS Invincible (having been in extended readiness since 2005); the Type 22 frigates HMS Cornwall, HMS Chatham, HMS Campbell and HMS Cumberland; the Type 42 destroyers HMS Gloucester, HMS Liverpool, HMS Manchester, HMS Nottingham and HMS York; the minehunter HMS Walney; the survey vessel HMS Roebuck; the landing ship RFA Largs Bay; the fleet replenishment ship RFA Fort George; and the support tanker RFA Bayleaf. It would not be accurate to say HMS Sceptre and HMS Turbulent have been decommissioned, as the term has a specific meaning relating to nuclear submarines, but both vessels have been withdrawn from service. In some cases, for example for the Type 42 destroyers, this is because they have been replaced by more modern ships—the Type 45 destroyers. In others, they reflect the requirements for Future Force 2020 as set out in the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review.

Written Answers — Defence: USA – 23 April 2013

Angus Robertson (Moray, Scottish National Party) To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the recent statement by Rear Admiral Barry Bruner, Director of the Undersea Warfare Division of the US Navy, that that navy needs 12 operational ballistic missile submarines to maintain a credible nuclear deterrent.

Andrew Robathan (South Leicestershire, Conservative) This is a matter for the US Government.

Written Answers — Defence: Middle East – 15 April 2013

Robert Halfon (Harlow, Conservative) To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of the defence situation in the middle east.

Andrew Murrison (South West Wiltshire, Conservative) The security situation in the middle east remains fragile, as populations continue to demand greater political, social and economic freedom. In particular, the conflict in Syria is deteriorating but we are pursuing efforts to deliver a political solution. The UK also remains concerned over Iran’s nuclear programme and is committed to a twin track approach of pressure through sanctions and engagement through multilateral negotiations to achieve a diplomatic solution to Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. But, as with Syria, no options have been removed from the table.

Oral Answers to Questions – Defence: Topical Questions – 15 April 2013

[…]

Graham Evans (Weaver Vale, Conservative) Has my right hon. Friend seen the recommendation of the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee’s report on the implications of Scottish separation that the Government should provide assurance that plans are in place to maintain the UK’s nuclear deterrent in the event of the Scottish people voting for separation? Does he agree with the recommendation?

Philip Hammond (Runnymede and Weybridge, Conservative) I am grateful to my hon. Friend and disappointed that the sole representative of Scottish separatism in the Chamber today had disappeared before we reached this point in proceedings. I have indeed seen the recommendations of the House of Lords report. As my hon. Friend will know, the Government’s position is clear: Scotland benefits from being part of the United Kingdom and the United Kingdom benefits from having Scotland in it. We are confident that the Scottish people will agree. However, in the event that they voted to leave the United Kingdom, the referendum, rather than being the point at which Scotland would leave the Union, would mark the beginning of a lengthy and extremely complex set of negotiations between the Scottish and UK Governments on the terms of independence. If an independent Scotland wanted to change the arrangements for the UK’s nuclear deterrent, the considerable costs, complexity and time scale involved in delivering alternative arrangements would inevitably be a major feature of the negotiations. It is therefore incorrect to suggest the need for an immediately deliverable contingency plan for the deterrent. However, the House will be aware that the MOD plans for a huge range of contingencies. For reasons of national security, we do not comment publicly on plans relating to the nuclear deterrent.

[…]

Bob Stewart (Beckenham, Conservative) Does my right hon. Friend agree that the only guaranteed nuclear deterrent is one that is carried by a submarine, launched by a ballistic missile, and on duty 24 hours a day, every day of the year?

Philip Hammond (Runnymede and Weybridge, Conservative) There is no doubt in my mind that the most cost-effective way of delivering a credible and effective nuclear deterrent is through continuous, at sea, submarine-based deterrence.

Oral Answers to Questions –  Ministry of Defence: North Korea – 15 April 2013

Philip Hollobone (Kettering, Conservative) What assessment he has made of the ability of North Korea to deliver a ballistic nuclear warhead and the extent to which such technology is being shared with Iran.

Philip Hammond (Runnymede and Weybridge, Conservative) It is clear that North Korea is undertaking programmes to develop nuclear weapons and a range of missile systems. It has successfully flight-tested ballistic missiles capable of reaching South Korea, Japan and US bases in the region. It has paraded a long-range missile with a claimed range of 12,000 km, which is highly likely to be intended to be nuclear-armed. Those developments are in breach of international law and threaten the stability of the region. As for links with Iran, North Korea is known to have sold ballistic missile technology to Iran. Any sharing of nuclear technologies would be a matter of grave concern and would breach UN sanctions.

Philip Hollobone (Kettering, Conservative) The attempted development of nuclear weapons by North Korea and Iran surely underlines the importance of maintaining our own independent nuclear deterrent, but does my right hon. Friend agree that perhaps the greatest risk to world peace is a miscalculation or mistake on behalf of either Iran or North Korea at this time when tensions are rising?

Philip Hammond (Runnymede and Weybridge, Conservative) I completely agree that there are huge risks at a time of heightened tension and a huge potential for miscalculation, which is why I welcome the initiative in which the United States is engaged to try to calm tensions around the Korean peninsula. The developments in Korea, and indeed Iran, show us primarily that the world is a very dangerous and unpredictable place, and that a credible nuclear deterrent is the ultimate protection against the threat of nuclear aggression or blackmail.

Stephen McCabe (Birmingham, Selly Oak, Labour) What assessment has the Secretary of State made of the time frame in which the North Koreans will have the capability to strike mainland Europe with a nuclear missile?

Philip Hammond (Runnymede and Weybridge, Conservative) It is impossible for us to make with any accuracy a prediction of the time scale involved. As I said, the North Koreans have tested shorter-range ballistic missiles and paraded a ballistic missile with sufficient range to reach Europe and the continental United States. We can only assume—I would be prepared to bet my bottom dollar on it—that they are seeking to integrate their nuclear technology with that ballistic missile technology.

Julian Brazier (Canterbury, Conservative) In welcoming my right hon. Friend’s robust earlier reply, does he agree that the links to which he and my hon. Friend Mr Hollobone referred—not only with Iran but, to a lesser extent, with other potentially extreme regimes—emphasise once more that, in a world with huge uncertainty, our nuclear deterrent is critical?

Philip Hammond (Runnymede and Weybridge, Conservative) I agree with my hon. Friend, and I would go further and say this: the life expectancy of the replacement ballistic missile submarines will be about 35 to 40 years, and it would be a very brave man who would claim now that he could see, 40 years ahead from the 2020s, that there will be no need for that capability.

Jim Murphy (East Renfrewshire, Labour) It is in all our interests that the situation in North Korea is resolved not only peacefully, but meaningfully, so as the US deploys military assets to the Korean peninsula, what discussions has the Secretary of State had with his US counterparts about the provision of any UK logistical support? Should the US move any military assets out of Afghanistan to that region, has he confirmed to the US that the UK would be willing to fill any of the gaps created by that redeployment?

Philip Hammond (Runnymede and Weybridge, Conservative) I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his question. There have been no discussions with and no requests from the US, as far as I am aware—certainly at ministerial level—regarding any form of logistical support in relation to the tensions on the Korean peninsula. Again, as far as I am aware, there is no proposal by the US to move any assets from the Afghanistan theatre in response to this crisis.

Written Answers – Ministry of Defence: Trident – 15 April 2013

Bob Stewart (Beckenham, Conservative) To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for the future of the UK’s Trident-based nuclear deterrent.

Philip Hammond (Runnymede and Weybridge, Conservative) The Government’s policy is that the Vanguard class submarines will be replaced in the late 2020s by a new class of successor strategic missile submarines carrying the Trident missile, subject to a main gate investment approval in 2016.

Written Answers to Questions — Ministry of Defence – Rosyth Dockyard- 13 March 2013

Gordon Brown (Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, Labour) To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to announce final decisions following the consultation on the disposal of seven decommissioned nuclear submarines currently located at Rosyth.

Philip Dunne (Ludlow, Conservative) As part of the Submarine Dismantling Project, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) carried out a public consultation on its proposals for dismantling the UK’s redundant defuelled nuclear-powered submarines, including those in afloat storage at Devonport and Rosyth dockyards. The MOD has revised its analysis to take account of the comments received during consultation, which has informed the business case prepared as part of the MOD’s Main Gate approval process. We expect to announce the resultant decisions in the near future.

Written Answers to Questions — Ministry of Defence – Military Police – 13 March 2013

Jim Murphy (East Renfrewshire, Labour) To ask the Secretary of State for Defence

(1) how many members of the Ministry of Defence Police were stationed at each service manned quarters in the UK in each year since 2005; and how many police will be stationed at each such site in each of the next three years;

(2) how many members of Ministry of Defence Police are employed to protect the UK’s nuclear deterrent;

(3) how many members of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) Police have been stationed at MoD Faslane and Coulport since 2005; and how many such police are projected to be stationed at those sites in (a) 2013, (b) 2014 and (c) 2015.

Mark Francois (Rayleigh and Wickford, Conservative) I am withholding the numbers of Ministry of Defence Police stationed at these sites for the purpose of safeguarding national security.

Written Answers – Ministry of Defence: Nuclear Submarines – 1 March 2013

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North, Labour) To ask the Secretary of State for Defence

(1) How much of the £35.8 billion announced on investment in submarines and nuclear deterrent programmes in The Defence Equipment Plan 2012 will be spent on (a) Astute class submarines, (b) design, development and production of replacement of Vanguard class submarines and (c) ongoing costs of managing and maintaining the strategic weapon system;

(2) How much of the £35.8 billion announced investment for replacement of Vanguard class submarines in The Defence Equipment Plan 2012 will be spent on (a) design, (b) development and (c) production;

(3) what the planned annual expenditure is on the design, development and production of the replacement for the Vanguard class for the next 10 years, assuming Main Gate approval;

(4) what proportion of funds allocated to (a) Support to New Equipment, (b) Support to In-Service Equipment, (c) Equipment Procurement (Core)—Uncommitted and (d) Equipment Procurement (Core)—Committed in The Defence Equipment Plan 2012 is allocated to any replacement for Vanguard submarines.

Philip Dunne (Ludlow, Conservative)  The breakdown of how much of the £35.8 billion announced in The Defence Equipment Plan 2012 is forecast to be spent on specific capabilities is as follows:

The Astute class submarine programme: £5.4 billion

Maintaining the Trident strategic weapons system: £12.7 billion

The figures above are planning figures and cover the 10-year period from financial year 2012-13 to financial year 2021-22. The figures include spending allocated to the individual programmes. They do not include expenditure that is related to multiple programmes or forecast savings under the Submarine Enterprise Performance Programme). The Successor Submarine Programme has allocated a total of around £2.8 billion in The Defence Equipment Plan 2012 in the period up to Main Gate in 2016. This funding is held within the Core Equipment Procurement Programme from financial years 2012-13 to 2016-17, and represents around 9% of the total funding in those years, excluding centrally held contingency, within that programme. For forecast annual expenditure on the Successor Programme up to Main Gate in 2016, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to Mr Ainsworth on 19 November 2012, I am withholding information on spending after Main Gate, as it would be likely to prejudice commercial interests and the development of Government policy.

Written Answers – Ministry of Defence: Trident – 26 Feb 2013

 Angus Robertson (Moray, Scottish National Party) To ask the Secretary of State for Defence

(1) if he will estimate the total cost to the public purse to date of payments to the US administration for the storage and reprocessing of Trident missiles at the Strategic Weapons Facility; (2) if he will estimate the total paid in annual fees to the US government for the storage and reprocessing of Trident missiles at the Strategic Weapons Facility Atlantic, Kings Bay, Georgia since the Polaris Sales Agreement was signed.

Philip Dunne (Ludlow, Conservative) Under the Polaris Sales Agreement 1963 as amended for Trident in 1982, the UK pays the US Department of Defence (DoD) an annual contribution towards the overall cost of the US Navy’s Strategic Weapons Facility Atlantic at Kings Bay, Georgia. This contribution is based on the UK’s share of the overall missile inventory.Reprocessing costs commenced in 2002; the total paid since then being $155 million. This figure includes all activities undertaken at Kings Bay; reprocessing and storage costs are not held separately. Included in these payments is the US DoD administration charge of 3% at a total value of $4.5 million.

Oral Answers to Questions – Ministry of Defence- Trident Replacement – 25 February 2013 

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North, Labour) What his most recent estimate is of costs up to 2016 of the replacement of the Trident nuclear missile system.

Philip Dunne (Ludlow, Conservative) As the hon. Gentleman is aware, the Trident D5 missile is expected to remain in service until the 2040s. No decision on a replacement system is expected to be made during this Parliament. The estimated cost remains at £2 billion to £3 billion at 2006 prices for the missile itself, as was set out in the White Paper published by the previous Government, whom he occasionally supported.

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North, Labour) Will the Minister undertake to report to Parliament regularly on expenditure on the missile replacement ahead of the 2016 main gate decision? Does the estimate that he has given today include the upgrading of AWE Aldermaston? Does he think that in a time of austerity it is really such a good idea to prepare to spend £100 billion on a nuclear missile system that will be our very own weapon of mass destruction, which will not help to bring about world peace?

Philip Dunne (Ludlow, Conservative) As the hon. Gentleman knows and as I have just said, we published an update to Parliament at the end of last year and we intend to publish such updates periodically. The upgrade at Aldermaston is part of the regular routine maintenance of that site which is needed for the existing programme, irrespective of the successor programme.

Marcus Jones (Nuneaton, Conservative) Notwithstanding my hon. Friend’s answer, will he join me in paying tribute to the brave submariners who have ensured that the UK has had a continuous at-sea deterrent and who have been the guarantor of our country’s security for 50 years?

Philip Dunne (Ludlow, Conservative) I am very pleased to pay tribute to the bravery of the men and women who support our submarine fleets, both the conventional fleet and the deterrent fleet. As my hon. Friend rightly says, they have done so for many decades. The deterrent is an important component of the defence of the realm and long may it stay so under this Government.

Bob Ainsworth (Coventry North East, Labour) I have tabled parliamentary questions on the Trident alternatives review. The Government are refusing to tell me how much it is costing and what it is looking at. The review is blatantly the Liberal Democrats researching their manifesto at taxpayers’ expense and in secret. Will the Government release the details of the Trident alternatives review?

Philip Dunne (Ludlow, Conservative) The right hon. Gentleman should be aware that the coalition agreement made it clear that the Liberal Democrats were allowed to produce their own alternative review. It is up to the Liberal Democrats to decide as and when they wish to publish the review’s findings.

Julian Lewis (New Forest East, Conservative) Talking of alternatives, does my hon. Friend agree that the few percentage points of the defence budget that will be spent on replacing Trident give far better value for money than the alternative of putting nuclear cruise missiles on Astute class submarines, as has been recommended by the Liberal Democrats, almost all of whom are unaccountably absent from the Chamber today?

Philip Dunne (Ludlow, Conservative) My hon. Friend is a stalwart defender of this country’s nuclear deterrent. I applaud him for that and for the debate that he called on this subject at the end of last year. It remains to be seen what costings are attached to the alternative plans that our coalition partners may or may not publish in due course.

Angus Robertson (Moray, Scottish National Party) The majority of Scottish MPs at Westminster have voted against Trident renewal, just as the majority of Members of the Scottish Parliament have voted against Trident renewal, and just as the Scottish trade unions, the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, every single faith group and the majority of public opinion are against Trident renewal. Why are the Government ignoring the democratic majority in Scotland and wasting billions of pounds on something that could never be used, rather than investing in conventional defence?

Philip Dunne (Ludlow, ConservativeThe hon. Gentleman should address his remarks to the workers of the Rosyth area and see how they feel about whether we should retain a nuclear deterrent in this country. Decisions about this country’s nuclear deterrent are made in this Parliament, as they were in 2007, and they will continue to be made here.

Written Answers to Questions — Ministry of Defence – Trident – 12 February 2013

Bob Russell (Colchester, Liberal Democrat) To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will estimate the proportion of the new defence equipment budget which would be allocated to Trident replacement in the 2020s should a like-for-like deterrent be commissioned; and if he will make a statement.

Philip Dunne (Ludlow, Conservative) The stated total costs for the replacement of nuclear deterrent published in the 2006 White Paper were: £11 billion to £14 billion for the submarine; £2 billion to £3 billion for the warhead; and £2 billion to £3 billion for infrastructure. This totals £15 billion to £20 billion with all costs at 2006-07 constant prices. Current forecast costs indicate that we remain within the 2006 White Paper estimates of £11 billion to £14 billion for the successor platform costs, assuming a four boat fleet. The warhead and infrastructure elements have not yet obtained Initial Gate approval. On 18 May 2011, Hansard, column 351, the approval of the Future Deterrent Submarine Initial Gate was announced. This has given the approval to commence with the assessment phase concluding with a Main Gate decision in 2016.

As stated in the White Paper, The Future of the United Kingdom’s Nuclear Deterrent (Cm 6994) published in December 2006, we expect that once the new fleet of SSBNs comes into service that the in-service costs of the UK’s nuclear deterrent, which will include AWE’s costs, will be similar to today (around 5% to 6% of the defence budget).

Oral Answers – Ministry of Defence – Part-time Nuclear Deterrent 

Karl McCartney (Lincoln, Conservative) What assessment he has made of the credibility and effectiveness of a part-time nuclear deterrent.

Andrew Robathan (South Leicestershire, Conservative) As stated in the 2010 strategic defence and security review:

“The Government will maintain a continuous submarine-based deterrent and begin the work of replacing its existing submarines.”

A deterrent works only if it is credible and available. All the evidence points to a continuous at-sea deterrent, based on Trident, as the best way to deliver the UK’s deterrent effect. A part-time deterrent—for example, where we do not have a submarine permanently on patrol—would make us vulnerable to a pre-emptive strike, and the act of deploying the deterrent in a period of tension would risk escalation at a potentially critical moment.

Karl McCartney (Lincoln, Conservative) One of the key elements of our nuclear deterrent has been its uninterrupted nature. Does the Minister agree that it is vital that we not only maintain that continuous deterrent, but refrain from conducting defence policy with an idealistic, flip-floppy, Lib Dem view of the world?

Andrew Robathan (South Leicestershire, Conservative) My hon. Friend draws me to make some disparaging comments before the by-election. I shall refrain from doing so, but I most certainly agree with him.

Written Answers to Questions — Ministry of Defence – Nuclear Weapons – 11 February 2013

Thomas Docherty (Dunfermline and West Fife, Labour) To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the projected annual running cost of a renewed nuclear deterrent would be.

Philip Dunne (Ludlow, Conservative) As stated in the White Paper, The Future of the United Kingdom’s Nuclear Deterrent (Cm 6994) published in December 2006, we expect that once the new fleet of submarines comes into service that the in-service costs of the UK’s nuclear deterrent, which will include the Atomic Weapons Establishment’s costs, will be similar to today’s (around 5-6% of the defence budget).

Written Answers – Ministry of Defence – Warships – 30 January 2013

Julian Lewis (New Forest East, Conservative) To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether there will be any production gaps between (a) the completion of the main build work on the Astute-class submarines and the beginning of the main build work on the Trident successor submarines and (b) the completion of the main build work on the Future aircraft carriers and the beginning of the main build work on the Type 26 frigates; what plans he has to prevent the loss of skills and specialist workers during any such gaps; and if he will make a statement.

Philip Dunne (Ludlow, Conservative)
holding answer 14 January 2013

The Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) intention is to deliver the Astute and Successor submarine programmes in a manner that ensures the long-term sustainability of the UK submarine industry. The MOD is working with its three principal industrial partners within the Submarine Enterprise (BAE Systems Maritime—Submarines, Babcock Marine and Rolls-Royce) to develop an efficient, coherent and sustainable submarine programme, which will provide a seamless transition between the Astute and Successor submarine programmes. How best to transition from the peak workload resulting from the Queen Elizabeth Class (QEC) Aircraft Carrier build programme to the more sustainable drumbeat of the Type 26 Global Combat Ship (T26 GCS) build programme is challenging. The MOD is engaged in detailed discussions with BAE Systems Maritime—Naval Ships, the MOD’s industrial partner for designated complex warship design, build and elements of support work under the terms of business agreement signed in 2009, to address any potential workload gap between the drawdown of the QEC programme and the start of build work on the planned T26 GCS once the design has been matured and the Main Gate approved. These discussions are exploring a number of options about how best to deliver the future shipbuilding programme at the lowest cost to the defence enterprise, and in a way that sustains key skills.

Written Answers – Ministry of Defence – Trident Submarines – 17 January 2013

Katy Clark (North Ayrshire and Arran, Labour) To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effect on the UK’s continuous at sea deterrence of the recent damage to HMS Vigilant.

Philip Dunne (Ludlow, Conservative) It is our policy not to discuss submarine operations.

Oral Answers – Wales – Defense Industry – 16 January 2013

Jonathan Edwards (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, Plaid Cymru) The MOD has disclosed that on safety grounds it has ruled out Devonport as a suitable relocation site for Trident following Scottish independence. Is the Secretary of State as surprised as I am that the First Minister is making a case for Milford Haven, when the MOD has not undertaken any safety assessment of the casualty rate in south-west Wales following a strategic attack or a Trident-related accident?

David Jones (Clwyd West, Conservative) I think the MOD is extremely satisfied with the facilities offered to the Trident fleet and Faslane, and expects to be based there for the foreseeable future.

Written Answers – Ministry of Defence – Nuclear Disarmament – 15 January 2013

Paul Flynn (Newport West, Labour) To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what consideration he has given to the proposal made by the British Pugwash Group in December 2012 that the Government should establish an international disarmament institute in the UK.

Andrew Robathan (South Leicestershire, Conservative) The Ministry of Defence asked British Pugwash to undertake a peer review of its programme on the verification of nuclear weapons dismantlement in March 2011. The report was submitted to the Department in December 2012, and its recommendations are being considered.

Written Answers – Ministry of Defence – HMS Vigilant – 10 January 2013

Jonathan Edwards (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, Plaid Cymru)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence

(1) what representations he has received from the Welsh Government in respect of his Department’s assessment of the casualty rate in West Wales consequent on any Trident-related accident in Milford Haven;

(2) what assessment he has made of the casualty rates in West Wales consequent on any Trident-related accident in Milford Haven.

Mark Francois (Rayleigh and Wickford, Conservative) I am not aware of any assessment having been made by the Ministry of Defence of the potential effect on casualty rates in West Wales consequent on any Trident-related accident in Milford Haven nor of any representation having been received from the Welsh Government in respect of such an assessment.

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