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M.Howard of the Arms Trade.

pirate | 18.03.2005 14:05 | Anti-militarism | South Coast | World

Reply from Tory leader M.Howard to constituent's letter re Amnesty Intl Control Arms campaign (and the Intl Arms Trade Treaty etc).

Following received today from Tory leader M.Howard in reply to letter on Controlling Arms campaign.
(In original letter he was also asked if he supported the cancelling of DESI due later this year).


House of Commons,London. 16.March 2005.


Thank you for your letter of 11 February.

I am a supporter of Britain's defense industry which currently is second only to that of the United States of America,having a 20% market share of the world's arms export industry.This is an important part of our declining manufacturing sector,providing jobs and incomes to thousands of families.

It is also imperative for the defence of the people of this country that we have a vibrant defense manufacturing capability. We cannot rely simply on our home market; we have to engage in defense exports in order to ensure economies of scale, so that we can sustain our industry. Further to this, the supply of defense equipment to our allies and friends around thw world enhances Britain's influence overseas and reinforces stability for Britain's interests around the world.

Whilst I am not opposed to the creation of an International Arms Trade Treaty for small arms, it is important to note that the real problem lies not with the UK defence industry, which is probably the most closely regulated and responsible, in the world, but with the illegal arms trade. It is the illegal trade in small weapons which fuels civil wars and guerrilla insurgencies. It is not at all clear that any new treaty will be able to address the illegal arms trade instead it could end up just piling more burdens on the responsible countries.

My collegues and I in the Conservative Party believe that there are a number of questions which arise about the proposed treaty's ability to achieve its stated objectives:

* Who is going to police this treaty? It is unclear what the Foreign Secratary's independent enforcement agency could in reality achieve.

*What actions are being proposed to tackle the illegal trade in weapons by nations and organisations,which refuse to be bound by the traty?

*Critics of the Iraq War claim that human rights abuses occurred and that the war fuelled conflict.Would such a claim render Britain liable under the new treaty?

These are issues which we will continue to press the Government on. I have fowarded a copy of your letter to the Forieng Secretary for his comments of which I shall keep you informed. Thank you again for contacting me.

With best wishes. Micheal Howard.




Display the following 5 comments

  1. bloodsoaked populist — - -
  2. Spelling — I don't think so
  3. Typo... — pirate
  4. More Tory lies — RW
  5. Helping to knock them down and build them up — Scooter