Global Security: UK-US Relations - Foreign Affairs Committee Contents


FORMAL MINUTES

Wednesday 17 March 2010

Members present:

Mike Gapes, in the Chair


Sir Menzies Campbell
Mr Fabian Hamilton
Mr David Heathcoat-Amory
Mr John Horam
Mr Eric Illsley
Andrew Mackinlay
Mr Malcolm Moss
Sandra Osborne
Mr Greg Pope
Mr Ken Purchase
Sir John Stanley
Ms Gisela Stuart



Draft Report (Global Security: UK-US Relations), proposed by the Chair, brought up and read.

Ordered, That the draft Report be read a second time, paragraph by paragraph.

Paragraphs 1 to 24 read and agreed to.

Paragraph 25 read, amended and agreed to.

Paragraphs 26 and 27 read and agreed to.

Paragraph 28 read, amended and agreed to.

Paragraph 29 read and agreed to.

Paragraph 30 read, amended and agreed to.

Paragraphs 31 to 33 read and agreed to.

Paragraph 34 read, amended and agreed to.

Paragraphs 35 and 36 read and agreed to.

Paragraphs 37 and 38 read, amended and agreed to.

Paragraphs 39 to 47 read and agreed to.

Paragraph 48 read, as follows:

We conclude that the UK has an extremely close and valuable relationship with the US in specific areas of co-operation, for instance in the fields of intelligence and security; that the historic, trading and cultural links between the two countries are profound; and that the two countries share common values in their commitment to freedom, democracy and the rule of law. However, we further conclude that it would be presumptuous for the UK to assert that it has a unique relationship with the US in any of these respects. For this reason the use of the phrase 'the special relationship' in its historical sense, to describe the totality of the ever evolving UK-US relationship, is potentially misleading, and we recommend that its use should be avoided. The overuse of the phrase by some politicians and many in the media serves simultaneously to de-value its meaning and to raise unrealistic expectations about the benefits the relationship can deliver to the UK. We further conclude that there is nothing wrong in acknowledging the undoubted truth that the UK has a special relationship with the US, as long as it is recognised that other countries do so also, including the regional neighbours of the US and its other key strategic allies and partners.

Amendment proposed, in line 4, to leave out from "law." to "We" in line 10. - (Sir John Stanley.)

Question put, That the Amendment be made.

The Committee divided.


Ayes, 5
  
Mr David Heathcoat-Amory
Andrew Mackinlay
Mr Greg Pope
Sir John Stanley
Ms Gisela Stuart
Noes, 7
  
Sir Menzies Campbell
Mr Fabian Hamilton
Mr John Horam
Mr Eric Illsley
Mr Malcolm Moss
Sandra Osborne
Mr Ken Purchase



Another Amendment proposed, in line 4, to leave out from "However," to "the use of the phrase" in line 6. - (Mr John Horam.)

Question put, That the Amendment be made.

The Committee divided.


Ayes, 8
  
Mr Fabian Hamilton
Mr John Horam
Andrew Mackinlay
Mr Malcolm Moss
Sandra Osborne
Mr Greg Pope
Sir John Stanley
Ms Gisela Stuart

Noes, 4
  
Sir Menzies Campbell
Mr David Heathcoat-Amory
Mr Eric Illsley
Mr Ken Purchase



Another Amendment proposed, in line 10, to leave out from "UK." to the end. - (Mr John Horam)

Question proposed, That the Amendment be made:- Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Paragraph, as amended, agreed to.

Paragraphs 49 to 54 read and agreed to.

Paragraph 55 read, amended and agreed to.

Paragraphs 56 to 78 read and agreed to.

Paragraph 79 read, amended and agreed to.

Paragraphs 80 to 90 read and agreed to.

Paragraph 91 read, as follows:

We conclude that the current financial climate has implications for the UK's future defence posture and its ability to sustain the level of military commitment in support of the US that it has demonstrated in recent years. We further conclude that it is likely that the extent of political influence which the UK has exercised on US decision-making as a consequence of its military commitments is likely also to diminish.

Amendment proposed, in line 1, to leave out from "posture" to the end of the paragraph, and add "We recommend that the Government in determining the future course of defence and security expenditure should give high priority to maintaining the strength of the UK/US relationship.".—(Sir John Stanley.)

Question put, That the Amendment be made.

The Committee divided.


Ayes, 6
  
Mr David Heathcoat-Amory
Andrew Mackinlay
Mr Malcolm Moss
Mr Greg Pope
Sir John Stanley
Ms Gisela Stuart

Noes, 6
  
Sir Menzies Campbell
Mr Fabian Hamilton
Mr John Horam
Mr Eric Illsley
Sandra Osborne
Mr Ken Purchase



Whereupon the Chair declared himself with the Noes.

Paragraph agreed to.

Paragraphs 92 to 95 agreed to.

Paragraph 96 read, as follows:

We conclude that, in the short-term, the UK should continue to do all it can to assist the US in the areas where it is also in the UK's security interests to do so, most notably in relation to Afghanistan and Pakistan and in respect of reform of NATO. We further conclude that, in the longer term, the arguments in favour of British forces doing less in the future but doing it better by focusing on niche and specialist capabilities, and of adopting a defence posture that complements that of the US, are compelling in terms of optimising British influence with US policy-makers.

Amendment proposed, in line 3, to leave out from "longer term" to the end of the paragraph, and add "the Government's foreign and security policy needs to be driven by the UK's national security obligations including those towards Britain's Overseas Territories, its NATO commitments and its security partnership with the US.".—(Sir John Stanley.)

Question put, That the Amendment be made.

The Committee divided.


Ayes, 9
  
Sir Menzies Campbell
Mr Fabian Hamilton
Mr David Heathcoat-Amory
Andrew Mackinlay
Mr Malcolm Moss
Mr Greg Pope
Mr Ken Purchase
Sir John Stanley
Ms Gisela Stuart

Noes, 1
  
Sandra Osborne



Paragraph, as amended, agreed to.

Paragraphs 97 to 100 read and agreed to.

Paragraph 101 read, as follows:

We conclude that it is imperative that the forthcoming Strategic Defence Review should be foreign policy led and be preceded by an honest and frank debate about the UK's role in the world based on a realistic assessment of what the UK can, and should, offer and deliver. Only once these fundamental questions have been addressed can the long-term scope and nature of the UK's defence relationship with the US be determined.

Amendment proposed, in line 1, after "policy" to insert "and defence commitments".—(Sir John Stanley.)

Question put, That the Amendment be made.

The Committee divided.


Ayes, 7
  
Mr Fabian Hamilton
Mr David Heathcoat-Amory
Andrew Mackinlay
Mr Malcolm Moss
Mr Greg Pope
Sir John Stanley
Ms Gisela Stuart

Noes, 5
  
Sir Menzies Campbell
Mr John Horam
Mr Eric Illsley
Sandra Osborne
Mr Ken Purchase



Paragraph, as amended, agreed to.

Paragraphs 102 to 111 read and agreed to.

Paragraph 112 read, amended and agreed to.

Paragraphs 113 to 129 read and agreed to.

Paragraph 130 read, amended and agreed to.

Paragraphs 131 to 200 read and agreed to.

Paragraph 201 read, amended and agreed to.

Paragraphs 202 to 230 read and agreed to.

Paragraph 231 read, amended and agreed to.

Paragraphs 232 to 239 read and agreed to.

Paragraph 240 read, amended and agreed to.

Paragraphs 241 read, as follows:

We conclude that the UK must continue to position itself closely alongside the US in the future, recognising the many mutual benefits which flow from close co-operation in particular areas, and recognising too that in many (but not all) respects there is a commonality of values between the two countries, but also taking a clear-eyed view that its strategy for alignment should be based on a realistic sense of the UK's role in the world and its national interests. We further conclude that the UK needs to be less deferential and more willing to say no to the US on those issues where the two countries' interests and values diverge.

An Amendment made.

Another Amendment proposed, in line 5, to leave out from "interests" to the end of the paragraph.—(Sir John Stanley.)

Question put, That the Amendment be made.

The Committee divided.


Ayes, 4
  
Mr Fabian Hamilton
Mr Greg Pope
Sir John Stanley
Ms Gisela Stuart
Noes, 6
  
Sir Menzies Campbell
Mr David Heathcoat-Amory
Mr John Horam
Mr Eric Illsley
Andrew Mackinlay
Mr Ken Purchase



Another Amendment proposed, to add at the end of the paragraph "We also note the substantial body of evidence that favours the UK strengthening its position in Europe, particularly since Europe is a means of inserting our interests into the US-China relationship which President Obama has said will shape the 21st century."—(Mr John Horam.)

Question put, That the Amendment be made.

The Committee divided.


Ayes, 2
  
Mr John Horam
Mr Ken Purchase

Noes, 7
  
Sir Menzies Campbell
Mr David Heathcoat-Amory
Mr Eric Illsley
Andrew Mackinlay
Mr Greg Pope
Sir John Stanley
Ms Gisela Stuart



Paragraph, as amended, agreed to.

Annex agreed to.

Resolved, That the Report be the Sixth Report of the Committee to the House.

Ordered, That the Chair make the Report to the House.

Ordered, That embargoed copies of the Report be made available, in accordance with the provisions of Standing Order No. 134.

Written evidence was ordered to be reported to the House for printing with the Report, together with written evidence reported and ordered to be published on 4 November, in the last session of Parliament, and 3 March.

[Adjourned till Wednesday 24 March at 4.00 pm.





 
previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2010
Prepared 28 March 2010