Arms control

All Commons Briefing Papers
45 Documents
DateDescription
27.01.2016Replacing the UK's Nuclear Deterrent
After nearly a decade of work on a programme to replace the UK's nuclear deterrent from the early 2030s, a decision on taking that programme forward will be made shortly. The Government is expected to seek the approval of Parliament for this decision. But what are the arguments for and against doing so? How much will it cost? And are there any other alternatives?
12.01.2016The 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review
This Commons Library briefing paper examines how the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review will affect the armed forces.
11.01.2016The UK National Security Council
The Commons Library has published a briefing paper on the UK National Security Council (NSC). Using a Q&A format, the briefing provides basic information about its origins, mandate and operation.
16.10.2015The Lausanne Accord with Iran
The nuclear negotiations with Iran took a big step forward with the announcement of a framework for a full agreement, to be signed by the end of June 2015. Will they make it across the finishing line?
08.05.2015UK Arms Export Control Policy
This briefing provides an overview of the development of the UK's legal and regulatory framework for arms exports since 1997. Controversy about UK arms exports to countries involved in the Arab Spring led to changes in how the control regime operates in relation to exports that might be used for internal repression. UK ratification of the Arms Trade Treaty in April 2014 has required amendment of secondary legislation and an updating of the Consolidated Criteria, on which official decisions about whether to approve or refuse an export licence are based. Concerns have been raised that the revised version of the Criteria, published in March 2014, is weaker than the 2000 original and that this has opened the way for a relaxation in UK arms export control policy. The previous Government denied that this had occurred.
10.03.2015The Trident Successor Programme: an update
This briefing paper is now out-of-date and has been replaced by Commons Library Briefing 7353, Replacing the UK's Trident Nuclear Deterrent, 26 October 2015.
05.03.2015Preparations for the 2015 NPT Review Conference
The nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference will be held in New York from 27 April to 22 May 2015. This note looks at progress made since the 2010 Conference and outlines the UK Government's position.
21.11.2014The Arms Trade Treaty
A legally binding Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 2 April 2013. It provides, for the first time, an international legal and regulatory framework for the arms trade based on respect for international law and human rights. The UK ratified the treaty on 2 April 2014. Primary legislation was not required for ratification but secondary legislation was amended and the UK's Consolidated Criteria, which are the basis upon which official decisions are made about whether to approve licence applications for arms exports, were updated. The treaty enters into force on 24 December 2014
19.11.2014Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons
On 8-9 December interested parties will convene in Vienna for the Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons. This will be the third conference on this issue in two years and is the result of an increasing focus by the non-nuclear weapon states on a previously little-debated aspect of the nuclear weapons debate: the humanitarian consequences of their use.
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 paper is now out-of-date and has been replaced by Commons Library Briefing CBP7353, Replacing the UK's Trident Nuclear Deterrent, 26 October 2015
16.05.2014Negotiation with Iran: update May 2014
An impoortant second stage of negotiations on Iran's nuclear programme started in May.
13.12.2013The Deal with Iran
On the 24th of November, the world woke up to news that a deal had been reached between the Permanent Five plus One (the UK, US, France, China, Russia and Germany) and Iran. A Joint Plan of Action was the outcome of weeks of hard negotiations. The deal was indeed revealed to be the fruit of years of US-Iran secret negotiations alongside a decade of public Iranian diplomacy following the revelation of a wide scale Iranian enrichment programme. This note seeks to outline the terms of the deal and reactions to it, background information for context and give a sense of potential technical and geopolitical outcomes.
04.11.2013Recent developments in Iran
Does the election of Hassan Rouhani in iran mean that the nuclear crisis will be resolved?
23.08.2013UK and the Egyptian military
03.06.2013Obama and Iran's 2013 elections: The role of presidents in the nuclear crisis
Iran's presidential election, due on 14 june, is unlikely to change Iranian policy over nuclear enrichment.
28.01.2013In brief: North Korea and the nuclear issue one year on from the succession
After a failed ballistic missile launch by North Korea in April 2012, an apparently more successful one took place in December, characterized at the time by the regime as a satellite launch. The UN Security Council passed a resolution further toughening sanctions. North Korea has responded to the new sanctions with its customary threatening rhetoric and has announced that it is preparing to conduct a third nuclear weapon test, following on from those undertaken in 2006 and 2009. This note surveys the state of play on the nuclear issue in the light of internal developments in North Korea, where Kim Jon-Un appears to have consolidated his power.
08.01.2013Defence exports: Social Indicators page
Defence exports: Social Indicators page. By Allan Smith and Paul Bolton. SN/SG/2622.
01.06.2012Iran: could there be a compromise?
For the first time since January 2011, the negotiating group that deals with Iran's nuclear programme is in talks with Iranian representatives. Whether or not this is a result of increased economic pressure and a growing threat of military action, there has been some speculation that this times the talks may be serious and that there is a prospect of a compromise.
15.02.2012Is Iran building a nuclear weapon?
Iran's nuclear programme remains at the top of the international agenda. Many commentators think that Iran has not made a decision to build a nuclear weapon, but that Iran may want to be at the threshold, with the technical ability and materials to build a weapon fairly quickly if the decision were to be made.
19.01.2012Oil embargo on Iran and the threat to the Straits of Hormuz
EU countries are preparing to impose a new round of sanctions on Iran, to include an embargo on the import of oil. The US has also enacted new legislation which will target the Iranian central bank and make oil trading more difficult for Iran. Iran has responded with some threatening comments about closing the Straits of Hormuz, leading to a rise in the oil price. It has also signalled that it is open to re-starting talks. This note details these developments and gives some samples of recent expert commentary.
13.12.2011In Brief: The Financial Restrictions (Iran) Order 2011
Comprehensive financial sanctions were imposed on Iran by Statutory Instrument 2775, The Financial Restrictions (Iran) Order 2011, to be debated on a motion to approve on 13 December 2011.
07.11.2011In Brief: The IAEA report and action against Iran
The IAEA is to release a report on the Iranian nuclear programme on 8 or 9 November. The report will give strong evidence suggesting that Iran is working on a nuclear weapon, and there has been a flurry of speculation that Israel is preparing for military action against Iran.
21.07.2011Iran's nuclear programme: an update
Shortly after taking office, US President Obama gave negotiations with Iran over its nuclear programme one year to produce results, promising to push for a new set of United Nations sanctions if there was no progress. The E3+3 countries, France, Germany and the United Kingdom plus China, Russia and the United States reached agreement on a fourth round of sanctions in June 2010 This note looks at Iran's nuclear programme, the effects of UN, US and EU sanctions and possible alternative approaches to the problem.
20.06.2011Trident after the Strategic Defence and Security Review
This paper is now out-of-date and has been replaced by Commons Library Briefing CBP7353, Replacing the UK's Trident Nuclear Deterrent, 26 October 2015
13.10.2010Iran's nuclear programme and sanctions
Shortly after taking office, US President Obama gave negotiations with Iran over its nuclear programme one year, promising to push for a new set of United Nations sanctions if there was no progress. After negotiating since the end of 2009, the E3+3 countries, France, Germany and the United Kingdom plus China Russia and the United States reached agreement on the fourth round of sanctions in June 2010 This note looks at Iran's nuclear programme and UN, US and EU sanctions.
21.09.2010Future of the British Nuclear Deterrent: A Progress Report
This paper is now out-of-date and has been replaced by Commons Library Briefing CBP7353, Replacing the UK's Trident Nuclear Deterrent, 26 October 2015
01.07.2010The French Nuclear Deterrent
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'.
08.04.2010Prospects for the 2010 NPT Review Conference
The eighth Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference is due to take place between 3 and 28 May 2010. This note examines the main principles of the NPT as the cornerstone of the international non-proliferation regime and the key issues regarding its continued effectiveness and credibility that are expected to be discussed at the conference. It also sets out the position of the British Government on these issues.
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.
24.03.2009Recent developments at the Atomic Weapons Establishment
This note provides details on the Government's new investment programme at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) and examines the new ownership arrangements at AWE Management Ltd (AWEML), the consortium which manages AWE on behalf of the government, which resulted from the decision by British Nuclear Fuels Ltd (BNFL) to sell their one-third stake in AWEML to the US-based Jacobs Engineering Group on 18 December 2008.
13.01.2009Arms Exports to Israel
This note briefly examines the UK's arms export policy with respect to Israel, the value of the military goods that the UK has exported over the last ten years and provides a comparison to the United States which accounts for 94% of all arms exports to Israel, and the other EU Member States.
27.04.2007Trident and the future of the British nuclear deterrent: frequently asked questions
This paper is now out-of-date and has been replaced by Commons Library Briefing CBP7353, Replacing the UK's Trident Nuclear Deterrent, 26 October 2015
08.03.2007In brief: The Trident White Paper
This paper is now out-of-date and has been replaced by Commons Library Briefing CBP7353, Replacing the UK's Trident Nuclear Deterrent, 26 October 2015
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.
13.03.2003Iraq: Developments since UN Security Council Resolution 1441
Iraq: developments since UN Security Council Resolution 1441. House of Commons Library Research Paper 03/22
21.11.2002Iraq and UN Security Council Resolution 1441
Iraq and UN Security Council Resolution 1441. House of Commons Library Research Paper 02/64.
15.11.2001Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Bill, Parts VI and VII:Pathogens toxins and weapons of mass destruction (Bill 49 of 2001-02)
Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Bill, Parts VI and VII:Pathogens toxins and weapons of mass destruction (Bill 49 of 2001/02). House of Commons Library Research Paper 01/94.
05.07.2001Export Control Bill (Bill 5 of 2001-02)
Export Control Bill (Bill 5 of 2001/02). House of Commons Library Research Paper 01/64.
30.03.2000Nuclear Safeguards Bill (HL) (Bill 59 1999/2000)
Nuclear Safeguards Bill (HL) (Bill 59 of 1999/2000). House of Commons Library Research Paper 00/40.
09.07.1998The Landmines Bill
The Landmines Bill. House of Commons Library Research Paper 98/74.
All Select Committee Reports
8 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]
14.08.2009Global security: non-proliferation.
Government response. Foreign and Commonwealth Office report [Commons]
20.07.2009Scrutiny of arms export controls (2009);
Business and Enterprise Select Committee; Defence Select Committee; Foreign Affairs Select Committee; International Development Select Committee report [Commons]
03.06.2009Global security: non-proliferation.
Foreign Affairs Select Committee report [Commons]