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WESTMINSTER NEWS

Again, another quiet week in Westminster; all except the UK leaving the EU at 11pm tonight.  We will have to wait and see how the withdrawal agreement effects our trade and wider economy.

PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS

Defence: Procurement:  asked the Secretary of State for Defence, whether he has plans in place for joint procurement between the UK and EU member states after the UK leaves the EU; and if he will make a statement, Defence Minister James Heappey stated:

The UK regularly collaborates with international partners and will continue to explore the opportunity to work with partners in Europe and beyond on joint capability programmes. 

Defence: Conferences:  asked the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the Answer of 9 September 2019 to Question 286671 on Defence in UK Prosperity Review, what recent progress has been made on arranging an international conference on the economic value of defence, Defence Minister James Heappey stated:

The Conference announced in the Written Ministerial Statement of 14 March 2019 (HCWS1411) will take place on 5 March. It will be held jointly with King's College London under the title "Assessing the Contribution of Defence to the UK Economy". It will bring together senior stakeholders from business, academia and Government to improve the understanding of how defence creates value across the UK and strengthens our ability to take account of this in future decisions.

EU Defence Policy:  askwd Her Majesty's Government whether any agreements have been made with the EU about British participation in (1) the establishment of a European Defence Union, (2) any military command and control procedures, (3) the future of Five Eyes, (4) the procurement of military equipment from an EU-wide organisation, and (5) the transfer of nuclear technology licensed to the UK by the United States; if so, what are the details of any such agreements; and whether any such agreements are separate to any agreements relating to the UK’s departure from the EU, Minister of State for Defence Baroness Gouldie stated:

The UK has no agreement with the EU about British participation in the establishment of a 'European Defence Union'.

The Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration provide the option, but no obligation, for the UK to continue to contribute to CSDP operations and missions on a voluntary basis, and where of benefit to UK interests. This does not undermine the UK's sovereignty, our command or control of our Armed Forces nor does it oblige us to participate in a 'defence union' or any EU defence initiatives.

The UK will retain full sovereign control over its defence, intelligence services and decision-making after leaving the EU. The UK will also retain control over the deployment of its Armed Forces and their equipment. Any future security partnership negotiated with the EU would reflect this position.

The UK currently has no agreements with the EU on military command and control procedures other than those in the Withdrawal Agreement referring to continued participation in CSDP operations and missions during the Implementation Period. UK personnel remain under UK sovereign command at all times.
The UK does not have any agreements with the EU on British participation in the 'Five Eyes' community. Any future relationship agreement with the EU will not undermine our partnership with the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The intelligence cooperation between these 'Five Eyes' partners is the broadest, deepest and most advanced of any grouping of nations and we are committed to maintaining it.

The UK has not entered into any agreements with the EU to participate in the procurement of military equipment from EU-wide organisations. There are no agreements with the EU about British participation in transfer of nuclear technology licensed to the UK by the US.

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News / NDI