House of Lords

All Written Answers, Iran – House of Lords, 11 November 2014

Baroness Deech (Crossbench)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the French-Iranian collaboration on uranium enrichment through SOFIDIF, and its relationship with the P5+1 group progress towards an agreement with Iran on the Iranian nuclear programme.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns (Conservative)
The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) and Areva, a French company, jointly own Société franco–iranienne pour l’enrichissement de l’uranium par diffusion gazeuse (SOFIDIF). SOFIDIF in turn has an interest in a uranium enrichment facility in France. The collaboration between AEOI and Areva pre-dates the 1979 Revolution in Iran. We do not believe it has a bearing on P5+1 talks with Iran.

All Written Answers, Trident Submarines – House of Lords, 4 November 2014

Lord West of Spithead (Labour)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much they estimate will have been spent on the replacement for the Vanguard-class submarine by 7 May 2015.

Lord Astor of Hever (Conservative)
The last financial year for which figures are available show that £2,068 million has been spent on the replacement for the Vanguard Class submarine up to 31 March 2014. This is consistent with the level of approval set for the Successor programme.

All Written Answers, Trident Submarines – House of Lords, 4 November 2014

Lord West of Spithead (Labour)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the design for the missile compartment of the replacement for the Vanguard-class submarine has been finalised.

Lord Astor of Hever (Conservative)
It is anticipated that the design of the Common Missile Compartment will be finalised at the whole boat design and integration review during 2019.

All Written Answers, Trident Submarines – House of Lords, 4 November 2014

Lord West of Spithead (Labour)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what long lead items have already been ordered for the replacement for the Vanguard-class submarines.

Lord Astor of Hever (Conservative)
The long lead items ordered for the Successor submarine programme comprise:

Weapons Handling and Launch System

Gearbox components and associated equipment

Material to support the manufacture of Missile Tubes

Material to support the manufacture of Integrated Tube and Hull Fixtures

A number of other long lead items for the Pressurised Water Reactor 3 reactor plant and the associated main propulsion systems have also been ordered to support the overall build schedule; however, specifics of these items are withheld for the purposes of safeguarding national security.

Written Answer, North Korea – House of Lords, 14 October 2014

Lord Myners (Labour)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are their foreign policy priorities in respect of North Korea.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns (Conservative)
The UK’s foreign policy priorities for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) are focused on two areas: counter-proliferation and human rights. Bilaterally, we use our policy of “critical engagement” directly to communicate issues of substantial concern, and to expose North Koreans to international values and the benefits of engaging with the international community. Multilaterally, the UK co-operates closely with like minded partners to ensure international pressure is maintained on the DPRK to address human rights violations and comply fully with its international obligations, including under UN Security Council resolutions relating to its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

Written Answer, Russia – House of Lords, 26 September 2014

Lord Hylton (Crossbench)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they are analysing any evidence relating to the suggestion that Russia may be in breach of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty; and, if so, when they expect to reach a conclusion.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns (Conservative)
The US briefed North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Allies on 29 July on its conclusion that Russia is in violation of its obligations under the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The UK and other NATO Allies are considering the detail of this briefing carefully. Although this is a bilateral Treaty to which the UK is not a party, the Government is clearly concerned at reports that Russia has breached its obligations under the Treaty, and is another example of Russia not adhering to international obligations and norms. The Government fully supports the statement made by the NATO Secretary General urging Russia to work constructively to return to full compliance in a verifiable manner.

Written Answer, Entry Clearances: Chernobyl – House of Lords, 26 September 2014

Lord Roberts of Llandudno (Liberal Democrat)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what visa requirements, screening procedures and payments are necessary before an individual suffering from the after-effects of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster is permitted to enter the United Kingdom.

Lord Bates (Conservative)
Visa applications are considered under the relevant immigration rules and on the individual merits of the case. A standard visit visa costs £83.

Written Answer, Iran – House of Lords, 26 September 2014

Lord Clarke of Hampstead (Labour)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to review their relationship with the government of Iran, including considering firmer sanctions.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns (Conservative)
Since the election of President Rouhani in 2013, we have been working to improve the UK-Iran relationship for the benefit of both countries. We intend, following Iran’s assurances that UK staff in Iran would be safe and able to carry out their functions, to reopen our Embassy in Tehran as soon as practical arrangements allow. A global diplomatic presence is a key component of UK foreign policy. Nevertheless, there will continue to be range of issues on which the UK and Iran disagree. Restored embassies will enable us to better understand these differences and to work more effectively to tackle them.

Along with our E3+3 partners, the UK remains committed to reaching a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Iran which ensures that their nuclear programme is exclusively peaceful. Failure to reach a settlement would lead to the re-imposition of sanctions suspended under the interim deal and consideration of further sanctions pressure

Written Answer, Iran – House of Lords, 30 July 2014

The Marquess of Lothian (Conservative)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government to what extent the E3/EU+3 talks with Iran have been affected by the situations in (1) Iraq, and (2) Ukraine.

Baroness Warsi (Conservative)
E3+3 negotiations with Iran on a comprehensive solution to the nuclear issue have not been affected by either Iraq or Ukraine. These negotiations focus purely on the nuclear issue: regional and other issues are not discussed. The E3+3 remain united in their objectives and approach to the negotiations. All of the E3+3 agreed on 19 July to extend the Joint Plan of Action until 24 November. We will continue to work constructively with our E3+3 partners to reach our goal by 24 November.

Written Answer, Nuclear Weapons- House of Lords, 15 July 2014

Lord Taylor of Warwick (Non-affiliated)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their response to the Trident Commission’s concluding report on United Kingdom nuclear weapons policy.

Lord Astor of Hever (Conservative)
Recognising the value of informed debate, the Government notes with interest this contribution to the debate on the important issues surrounding the UK’s nuclear deterrent policy and posture.

Written Answer, Usa- House of Lords, 7 July 2014

Lord Judd (Labour)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to ensure that any extension of the mutual defence agreement with the United States is designed to assist the fulfilment of the purposes of the non-proliferation treaty and to fulfil the undertaking in that context given by the existing nuclear powers.

Baroness Warsi (Conservative)
We are committed to the goal of a world without nuclear weapons and firmly believe that the best way to achieve this is through gradual disarmament negotiated through a step-by-step approach within the framework of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The UK has a strong record on nuclear disarmament and continues to be at the forefront of international efforts to control proliferation, and to make progress towards multilateral nuclear disarmament. The UK-USA Mutual Defence Agreement is, and will continue to be, in full compliance with our obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Written Answer, Trident – House of Lords, 23 June 2014

Lord Judd (Labour)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to ensure that any extension of the mutual defence agreement with the United States does not pre-empt decisions by Parliament on the future of Trident.

Lord Astor of Hever (Conservative)
Renewal of the Mutual Defence Agreement (MDA) does not pre-empt a Main Gate decision on the Successor submarine in 2016. The MDA underpins the nuclear relationship between the UK and US and enables the UK to procure from the US certain non-nuclear components for the existing UK warhead. The Government’s policy is to maintain and renew the continuous at sea nuclear deterrent based on a submarine system and Trident missiles.

All Written Ministerial Answers, Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 – House of Lords, 10 June 2014

Lord Deighton (Conservative)
Paragraph 38 of Schedule 7 to the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 requires the Treasury to report to Parliament after each calendar year in which a direction under the Schedule is at any time in force. This report provides details of the Treasury’s exercise of its functions under Schedule 7 during the calendar year 2013.

The Schedule 7 powers

Schedule 7 provides HM Treasury with powers to implement a graduated range of financial restrictions in response to certain risks to the UK’s national interests. The risks it addresses are those posed by money laundering, terrorist financing and the proliferation of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons.

Direction given under the powers in Schedule 7

The Financial Restrictions (Iran) Order 2012 (‘the 2012 Order’) was made and came into force on 21 November 2012, immediately on expiry of the 2011 Order. The 2012 Order contained a Direction by the Treasury in the same terms as in the 2011 Order. The decision to give the Direction in the 2012 Order, in effect maintaining the restrictions in the 2011 Order, was made because of the continued risk to the national interests of the UK caused by the activity of Iranian banks in facilitating the development or production of nuclear weapons. The Direction mitigates the risk to the financial sector of being involved in proliferation financing.

Licensing

Under paragraph 17 of Schedule 7, the Treasury can exempt acts specified in a licence from the requirements of a direction requiring the cessation or limiting of transactions or business relationships between UK and Iranian banks.

Six general licences were issued by the Treasury exempting certain activities from the requirements of the 2011 Order. All 6 licences have since been revoked and on 22 December 2012, HM Treasury issued a new General Licence 1 under Article 30(2)(c) of Council Regulation (EU) No. 267/2012 (“the EU Regulation”). This licence permitted actions authorised under the Financial Restrictive Order 2012 to remain valid.

Specific Licenses

In January 2013, 3 specific licences were issued, 1 specific licence revoked and 1 specific licence amended.

• 2 of these newly issued licenses were issued in connection with payments due by an agreement or contract concluded before the prohibitions;• 1 newly issued licence related to humanitarian action;• 1 revoked licence concerned the repayment of a loan and • 1 amended licence allowed a UK bank to receive funds from a UK designated bank, amended to add the ultimate beneficiary into the licence.

Written Answers, Ukraine – House of Lords, 7 April 2014

Lord Stoddart of Swindon (Independent Labour)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will make any financial or other assistance to Ukraine conditional upon a commitment by that country not to re-activate its nuclear weapons programme.

Baroness Warsi (Conservative)
As a non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), Ukraine is legally obliged not to receive, manufacture or acquire nuclear weapons. The Government of Ukraine has stated that it has no plans to change its non-nuclear status and will continue to comply with the NPT.

Written Answers, Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence – House of Lords, 27 March 2014

Lord Hylton (Crossbench)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the United Kingdom was a party to the 2006 Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development; what progress has been made in implementing it; and whether the retention of nuclear weapons by the United Kingdom and France is compatible with the aims of that Declaration.

Baroness Warsi (Conservative)
The United Kingdom signed the Geneva Declaration in 2006 and is also a member of the Core Group which is responsible for guiding implementation of the Declaration.

The Geneva Declaration makes no mention of nuclear weapons, and the United Kingdom sees no incompatibility between maintenance of the deterrent and the Declaration.

Written Answers, Arms Export Licensing – House of Lords, 25 Mar 2014

Viscount Younger of Leckie (Conservative)
My Rt hon Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (Vince Cable) has today made the following statement.

The UK’s defence industry can make an important contribution to international security, as well as provide economic benefit to the UK. The legitimate international trade in arms enables governments to protect ordinary citizens against terrorists and criminals, and to defend against external threats. The Government remains committed to supporting the UK’s defence industry and legitimate trade in items controlled for strategic reasons. But we recognise that in the wrong hands, arms can fuel conflict and instability and facilitate terrorism and organised crime. For this reason it is vital that we have robust and transparent controls which are efficient and impose the minimum administrative burdens in order to enable the defence industry to operate responsibly and confidently.

The Government’s policy for assessing applications for licences to export strategic goods and advance approvals for promotion prior to formal application for an export licence was set out on behalf of the then Foreign Secretary on 26 October 2000, Official Report, Column 200W. Since then there have been a number of significant developments, including:

– the entry into force of the Export Control Act 2002 – the application of controls to electronic transfers of software and technology and to trade (brokering) in military goods between overseas destinations- the adoption by the EU of Council Common Position 2008/944/CFSP of 8 December 2008 defining common rules governing control of exports of military technology and equipment- further development of EU export control law, including: the adoption of Council Regulation (EC) 1236/2005 of 27 June 2005 concerning trade in certain goods which could be used for capital punishment, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; Directive 2009/43/EC of 6 May 2009 simplifying terms and conditions of transfers of defence-related products within the Community; and the re-cast Council Regulation (EC) 428/2009 of 5 May 2009 setting up a Community regime for the control of exports, transfer, brokering and transit of dual-use items- the adoption by the UN General Assembly on 2 April 2013 of an international Arms Trade Treaty, which the UK signed on 3 June 2013.

The Government believes that the procedures for assessing licence applications and our decision-making processes are robust and have stood the test of time.

We also believe that the eight Criteria continue to adequately address the risks of irresponsible arms transfers and are fully compliant with our obligations under the EU Common Position and the Arms Trade Treaty. Nevertheless it is appropriate to update these Criteria in light of developments over the last 13 years. In particular: the list of international obligations and commitments in Criterion 1 has been updated; there is explicit reference to international humanitarian law in Criterion 2; and the risk of reverse engineering or unintended technology transfer is now addressed under Criterion 7 rather than Criterion 5. There are also minor changes to improve the clarity and consistency of the language used throughout the text. None of these amendments should be taken to mean that there has been any substantive change in policy.

These Criteria will be applied to all licence applications for export, transfer, trade (brokering) and transit/transhipment of goods, software and technology subject to control for strategic reasons (referred to collectively as “items”); and to the extent that the following activities are subject to control, the provision of technical assistance or other services related to those items. They will also be applied to MOD Form 680 applications and assessment of proposals to gift controlled equipment.

As before, they will not be applied mechanistically but on a case-by-case basis taking into account all relevant information available at the time the licence application is assessed. While the Government recognises that there are situations where transfers must not take place, as set out in the following criteria, we will not refuse a licence on the grounds of a purely theoretical risk of a breach of one or more of those Criteria. In making licensing decisions I will continue to take into account advice received from FCO, MOD, DFID, and Other Government Departments and agencies as appropriate. The Government’s Strategic Export Controls Annual Reports will continue to provide further detailed information regarding policy and practice in strategic export controls.

The application of these Criteria will be without prejudice to the application to specific cases of specific criteria as may be announced to Parliament from time to time; and will be without prejudice to the application of specific criteria contained in relevant EU instruments.

This statement of the Criteria is guidance given under section 9 of the Export Control Act. It replaces the consolidated criteria announced to Parliament on 26 October 2000.

Criterion One

Respect for the UK’s international obligations and commitments, in particular sanctions adopted by the UN Security Council or the European Union, agreements on non-proliferation and other subjects, as well as other international obligations.

The Government will not grant a licence if to do so would be inconsistent with, inter alia:

a. The UK’s obligations and its commitments to enforce United Nations, European Union and Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) arms embargoes, as well as national embargoes observed by the UK and other commitments regarding the application of strategic export controls;

b. The UK’s obligations under the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty;c. The UK’s obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention;d. The UK’s obligations under the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the Convention on Cluster Munitions (the Oslo Convention), the Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Act 2010, and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (the Ottawa Convention) and the Land Mines Act 1998;e. The UK’s commitments in the framework of the Australia Group, the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Zangger Committee, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Wassenaar Arrangement and The Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation;f. The OSCE Principles Governing Conventional Arms Transfers and the European Union Common Position 2008/944/CFSP defining common rules governing control of exports of military technology and equipment.

[…]

Written Answer, North Korea – House of Lords, 7 Jan 2014

Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Conservative)
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they are making to the government of North Korea regarding the political situation in that country.

Baroness Warsi (Conservative)
The UK has a policy of ‘critical engagement’ with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. This means speaking out and taking action on issues such as human rights and North Korea’s nuclear programme, while at the same time engaging the regime with projects and bilateral visits. However, given the opaque nature of the North Korean regime it is particularly difficult to form a clear assessment of the real political situation.
Following the execution of Jang Song Thaek on 13 December 2013, the British Embassy in Pyongyang spoke to the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the 19 December 2013 to clarify the situation. Officials in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office also discussed the situation with the North Korean Embassy on 20 December 2013. In both meetings we sought clarification on the situation and expressed our concerns about the use of capital punishment. The North Korean government claimed Jang’s execution is an internal matter and would not impact on their internal or international policies.