Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform First Report


Annex 2

Arms Control and Disarmament (Inspections) Bill [HL]

Memorandum by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

INTRODUCTION

1.  This Memorandum identifies one provision of the Arms Control and Disarmament (Inspections) Bill that provides for a power to make delegated legislation. It explains the purpose of the power, the reason why the matter is left to delegated legislation, and the nature and justification for the procedure selected for the exercise of the power.

OUTLINE AND SCOPE OF THE BILL

2.  The Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe signed in Paris on 19 November 1990 ("the CFE Treaty") was amended by the Agreement on Adaptation signed in Istanbul on 19 November 1999 ("the Agreement on Adaptation"). The Bill will amend the Arms Control and Disarmament (Inspections) Act 1991 ("the 1991 Act") to enable the UK to ratify the Agreement on Adaptation. The main provisions of the Bill are:

    (a)  amendment of Section 2 of the 1991 Act to provide additional rights of entry and unobstructed access to inspection teams so that they may conduct inspections under Sections VII and IX of the Protocol to the Agreement on Adaptation;

    (b)  a power to make further amendments to the 1991 Act should they be necessary to implement future amendments to the CFE Treaty relating to inspections.

3.  The Bill comprises three clauses.

4.  The Bill will extend to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

CLASSIFICATION OF SUBORDINATE LEGISLATION

5.  The subordinate legislation provided for in the Bill is considered by the Department to fall within the recommendations of the Select Committee on the scrutiny of delegated powers in their report of 2 March 1993.

6.  The Department stands ready to provide the Committee with any further supporting details on the delegated power that the Committee thinks fit; and give oral evidence and support if the Committee considers that to be more helpful.

PROPOSALS FOR SUBORDINATE LEGISLATION

7.  The Bill contains two powers for subordinate legislation. The first concerns future amendments to the CFE Treaty, and the second concerns the extension of the 1991 Act to certain Overseas Territories. The latter is standard in Bills which enable the UK to ratify treaties and to extend their application to relevant Overseas Territories. There is no parliamentary procedure. This Memorandum deals only with the first of the two powers for subordinate legislation.

ANALYSIS OF DELEGATED POWER

8.  Clause 2(1) provides a power to amend the 1991 Act in the event that future amendments to the CFE Treaty relating to inspections require implementation in the United Kingdom.
Power conferred on: Her Majesty in Council
Power exercisable by: Order in Council
Parliamentary procedure: Affirmative Resolution


9.  The CFE Treaty was negotiated and concluded before the Cold War security structures in Europe had broken down. The Treaty therefore reflected the former Soviet bloc and NATO membership and set limits on equipment such as tanks, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, armoured combat vehicles and artillery (above 100mm calibre) which were calculated in accordance with those bloc structures. The end of the Cold War and the emergence of States in Central and Eastern Europe with sovereignty over their own national security paved the way for renegotiation of the CFE Treaty. The new limits for armaments set out in the Agreement on Adaptation reflect this new security structure in Europe. The Agreement also provides for greater transparency, confidence-building and security measures. Among these measures are enhanced provisions for international inspections of relevant sites within the territories of the States parties. The Bill provides for the additional rights of entry and inspection which are required to enable the UK to comply with these enhanced inspection provisions.

10.  In the future, it is possible that the States parties to the CFE Treaty might be able to make further progress on enhanced transparency, confidence-building and security measures. Such provisions could include further enhanced international inspections. To achieve this further progress, the States parties to the CFE Treaty would negotiate a further amending treaty setting out the enhanced provisions. Any further enhanced provisions on international inspection could well require further legislation to enable the UK to ratify. The Department considers that it would be sensible to provide now for such possible future developments by providing a power to amend the 1991 Act to reflect any further amendments to the CFE Treaty relating to inspections.

11.  As the CFE Treaty concerns European security, the Department consider it important that there should be parliamentary oversight of any further amendments to the 1991 Act, and accordingly the Bill provides for an affirmative resolution.


 
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