Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:12 pm on 5th February 2019.

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Photo of Lord Collins of Highbury Lord Collins of Highbury Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs), Shadow Spokesperson (International Development) 7:12 pm, 5th February 2019

My Lords, I thank the Minister for repeating that response to the Urgent Question. As he repeated, and as Mark Field said yesterday in the other place, the treaty’s six-month withdrawal process offers Russia a final opportunity to return to compliance.

Last October, we had a similar Answer repeated in this Chamber. I asked the Minister whether we were consulted over the initial announcement. He said that the UK Government,

“continue to work very closely with the United States and other NATO allies to ensure that our efforts over the past 30 years are not just sustained but strengthened.”.—[Official Report, 24/10/18; col. 864.]

Will the Minister tell the House what steps the Government have taken to try to bring the US and Russian Governments back to the negotiations? Will he tell the House what discussions he or the Foreign Secretary have had with their US counterparts?

There is another issue here. I know this is a bilateral treaty, but what contact has the Foreign Secretary had with other countries, including China, which have developed INF-proscribed weapons, so that a future multilateral framework may be developed that could supersede and replace the INF treaty?