Parliamentary Update: 28th Jan 2015

Attachments: nwplg_monitoring_jan26.pdf
28 January 2015, Nuclear Weapons Policy Liaison Group

Read about the latest political activity around nuclear weapons in the UK, including the Opposition Day Debate about Trident replacement.

Parliamentary update: Nuclear Weapons Policy Liaison Group, 5th - 26th January 2015

This parliamentary update is also attached as a downloadable PDF.


1. Political news

2. Early Day Motions

  • EDM 659 - Austrian Government Nuclear Disarmament Initiative

3. Parliamentary debates

  • Opposition Day Debate - Trident

4. Parliamentary Questions and Answers, and Statements

  • Foreign and Commonwealth Office - North Korea

  • Ministry of Defence - Nuclear Weapons

  • Ministry of Defence – Submarines

  • Ministry of Defence – Nuclear Submarines

  • Foreign and Commonwealth Office - Nuclear Weapons

  • Ministry of Defence - Nuclear Submarines: Decommissioning

  • Ministry of Defence - Antisubmarine Warfare

  • Ministry of Defence - Nuclear Deterrent

5. Press releases

  • Press releases from Plaid Cymru

  • Press releases from Scottish National Party

6. Political blogs

7. Upcoming business

1. Political News

With only one hundred days to go until one of the closest general elections in a generation, the mood in parliament is starting to change as the political parties start to harden their position. Speaking to activists in Salford earlier this month, Ed Miliband hinted at looking at cheaper Trident replacement. Whilst Ed’s personal views on trident have remained ambiguous, there has been no change in policy by his frontbench team. During a recent opposition day debate on Trident arranged by the SNP and Plaid Cymru, Vernon Coaker Labour’s spokesperson on defence, spoke in support of Trident emphasising the party’s support for ‘Continuous–At-Sea-Deterrence’.

The SNP’s leader, Nicola Sturgeon spoke on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, claiming that she could persuade Ed Miliband to bow to her wishes despite there being no prospect of the SNP holding the balance of power in a vote on Trident. Jim Murphy, the Scottish Labour leader, accused her of “horse-trading” Britain’s national security so she could play “footsie about possible coalitions” with his party. Lord John Hutton, Labour’s former Secretary of State for Defence, also took to Newsnight saying that Trident must remain a 'red line' for Labour.

Outside of Parliament, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament activists demonstrated outside the Ministry of Defence building calling on the government to “wrap up” the trident nuclear missiles programme. In response to a rant on Trident, John Woodcock MP challenged Comedian Russell Brand visit the Barrow shipyard – which is currently building the Astute class attack submarines – to explain his position to the workforce.

The Government has confirmed that in early February 2015, the UK will host the sixth Conference of P5 Nuclear Weapon States. There will be a statement in parliament following this meeting.

A ministerial statement has also confirmed that the Government has now achieved its commitment to reducing the number of operationally available warheads to no more than 120 and met its commitment to implement changes across the SSBN fleet. All Vanguard Class SSBNs on continuous at-sea deterrent patrol now carry 40 nuclear warheads and no more than eight operational missiles (details provided below).

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2. Early Day Motions (EDMs)

EDM 659 - Austrian Government Nuclear Disarmament Initiative

Date tabled: 05.01.2015

Primary sponsor: Ruddock, Joan

Sponsors: Harvey, Nick; Robertson, Angus; Ritchie, Margaret; Lucas, Caroline; Bottomley, Peter;

“That this House congratulates the Austrian government on its call to all states to identify and pursue effective measures to fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons and its pledge to co-operate with all stakeholders to achieve this goal; notes that this pledge was made at the end of the Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons held in Vienna on 8-9 December 2014 and attended by 157 states including the UK; applauds the contribution of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent to the conference and the participation of civil society led by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons; agrees that no national or international response capacity exists that would adequately respond to the human suffering and humanitarian harm that would result from a nuclear weapon explosion in a populated area; supports the states led by Austria now calling for work to begin on crafting a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons; and urges the UK Government to participate fully in this new

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