Arms control

This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on arms control. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Standard Notes

DateDescription
20.10.2014UK-USA Mutual Defence Agreement
The Mutual Defence Agreement allows the US and UK to exchange nuclear materials, technology and information in order to improve their atomic weapon design, development and fabrication capabilities. The most important part of the MDA is due to expire at the end of 2014 and therefore an amendment treaty, which will extend this deadline to 2024, must be ratified by both States and brought into force by the end of this year.
18.08.2014UK arms transfers to the Peshmerga in Iraqi Kurdistan
After rapid advances by the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS or ISIL) towards Erbil, the capital of the Iraqi Kurdish Region, the UK government has indicated that it may send arms to the Peshmerga, the Kurdish Regional Government's security force.
26.06.2014The Future of the British Nuclear Deterrent: Suggested Reading
This note sets out a list of suggested reading material which provides background on the decision to replace the nuclear deterrent, the international legal context for such a decision, the current debate on financial and political viability of the successor programme, and the potential alternatives to a submarine-based deterrent.
26.06.2014The Trident Successor Programme: an update
The programme to replace the UK's nuclear deterrent, Trident, from 2028 onwards continues apace. This note examines the progress made on the new class of 'Successor' submarines, the Trident Alternatives Review and the potential impact of the Scottish referendum on independence.
16.05.2014Negotiation with Iran: update May 2014
An impoortant second stage of negotiations on Iran's nuclear programme started in May.

Research Papers

DateDescription
15.06.2010Progress towards nuclear disarmament?
In April 2009 President Obama set out his vision for a world without nuclear weapons, and in doing so laid the groundwork for renewed international efforts to strengthen and advance the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime. Over the past year that momentum has translated into the agreement of a successor to the US-Russia START treaty, global commitments to secure highly vulnerable nuclear materials within four years and the establishment, at the May 2010 Review Conference, of an action plan in support of the three main pillars of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. This paper examines the prospects for achieving that vision of 'global zero'.
11.02.2010Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Bill (HL)
The main purpose of the Bill is to create criminal offences in order to enforce the prohibitions set out in Article 1 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. This bans the use, production, transfer, and stockpiling of cluster munitions on the grounds that they cause unacceptable harm to civilians, and establishes measures to minimise the harm to civilians in the aftermath of conflicts. Ninety-four states, including the UK, signed, and four states ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Oslo on 3 December 2008. Once the Bill has passed into law, the UK will then move to ratify the Convention, which has been ratified by 30 states, and will come into force on 1 August 2010. The Government has announced that it intends to destroy all cluster munition stockpiles by the end of 2013. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have given their full support to the Bill.
11.12.2009The Islamic Republic of Iran: An introduction
This paper provides an introduction to the Islamic Republic of Iran; its politics, economy, foreign and defence policies, and nuclear programme. It examines the governmental structure of the theocratic state, analyses the key personalities and forums of decision-making and assesses Iran's policies at home and abroad.
03.11.2006The Future of the British Nuclear Deterrent
The Future of the British Nuclear Deterrent. House of Commons Library Research Paper 06/53.
16.09.2003Arms Control and Disarmament (Inspections) Bill (HL) (Bill 50 of 2002/03)
Arms Control and Disarmament (Inspections) Bill (HL). (Bill 50 of 2002/03). House of Commons Library Research Paper 03/70.

Select Committee Reports

DateDescription
07.07.2011Government response to the first joint report from the Business, Innovation and Skills, Defence, Foreign...
Government response. Defence Select Committee; Foreign Affairs Select Committee; Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee; International Development Select Committee report [Commons]
22.03.2011Scrutiny of Arms Export Controls (2011): UK Strategic Export Controls Annual Report 2009, Quarterly Reports...
Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee; Defence Select Committee; Foreign Affairs Select Committee; International Development Select Committee report [Commons]
12.10.2010Government response to the first joint report from the Business, Innovation and Skills, Defence, Foreign...
Government response. Defence Select Committee; Foreign Affairs Select Committee; Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee; International Development Select Committee report [Commons]
16.03.2010Scrutiny of Arms Export Controls (2010): UK Strategic Export Controls Annual Report 2008, Quarterly Reports...
Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee; Defence Select Committee; Foreign Affairs Select Committee; International Development Select Committee report [Commons]
22.10.2009Scrutiny of arms export controls (2009).
Government response. Ministry of Defence; Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Department for International Development; Department for Business, Innovation and Skills report [Commons]

Early Day Motions

DateDescription
11.01.2012WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION FREE ZONE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
That this House welcomes the Government's support for the establishment of a weapons of mass destruction free zone in the Middle East since the 2010 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review ...
07.11.2011CLUSTER MUNITIONS
That this House recalls the historic agreement reached in Dublin on 28 May 2008 creating the international convention prohibiting the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of all ...
02.11.2011ETA CEASEFIRE
That this House welcomes the recent declaration by the Basque group Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) of a permanent and verifiable ceasefire at the Donastia-San Sebastian Peace Conference; ...
12.09.2011ARMS TRADE
That this House notes that the arms export priority markets for the UK Trade and Investment's Defence and Security Organisation in 2010-11 included Algeria, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Saudi ...
23.06.2011NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION
That this House welcomes President Obama's statement to Parliament during his recent state visit that the United States `will meet its obligations under the nuclear Non-Proliferation ...

Lords Library Notes

DateDescription
21.01.2013Debate on 24 January: Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament
This Library Note provides background reading in advance of the debate to be held on 24 January on the prospects for multilateral nuclear disarmament, and the contribution which Britain could make.
15.01.2010Debate on 21st January: prospects for nuclear disarmament and strengthening non-proliferation. LLN 2010/002
Debate on 21st January: Prospects for Nuclear Disarmament and Strengthening Non-Proliferation. This Library Note aims to provide background reading for the Debate to be held on Thursday 21st January: 'To call attention to the prospects for multi-lateral nuclear disarmament and for strengthening nuclear non-proliferation' The Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference will take place in May 2010. This Note summarises the main issues addressed in the Foreign Office information paper Lifting the Nuclear Shadow: Creating the Conditions for Abolishing Nuclear Weapons and the Government's agenda for the Review Conference, as laid out in the Cabinet Office paper The Road to 2010: Addressing the Nuclear Question in the Twenty First Century. The Note also chronicles the main developments in the international community since the publication of these papers and summarises some of the contributions to the nuclear debate from a variety of sources, including the views of the UN Secretary General and the former Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
20.03.2009The potential for nuclear proliferation: debate on 26th March 2009. LLN 2009/003
The potential for nuclear proliferation. House of Lords Library Note 2009/003

POST Papers

DateDescription
01.06.1992Disposal of the CIS nuclear weapons
This POSTnote discusses the safe dismantling of nuclear weapons, what may be done with the materials resulting and related policy issues. POSTnote 35. POST. 1992.

Glossary

  • Research Papers (RP) - briefings produced by the House of Commons Library on Bills, topical issues and regular statistics
  • Standard Notes (SN) - shorter, topical briefings from the Commons Library
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POST Notes - short briefing notes produced by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - papers compiled by the House of Lords Library on Bills and for debates in the Lords
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses