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Lord Skelmersdale: My Lords, perhaps I can intervene to follow up on that point. I well understand the dangers and opportunities which have been given to us from the patriation of the human rights legislation. But surely it would be possible to frame some sort of legal clause to encompass the case I illustrated whereby the office is in a private dwellinghouse. After all, the office may not contain the animals in question but may well contain comprehensive records which would be useful to the court in the exercise of this particular duty.

Lord Carter: My Lords, that is a point that goes wider than this Bill. Indeed, if we attempted to amend this Bill, as we know it would not become law. The easiest way to deal with this--I accept it is a complex point--is for me to write to the noble Lord with a fuller explanation.

This is not a complicated measure. It is a modest but long overdue change to the 1911 Act. For the most part the Act has stood the test of time, though the history we heard from the noble Lord, Lord Soulsby, was fascinating. I believe he said that there was protection of animals in law before there was protection of children. However, the Act remains a cornerstone of the legislative protection we provide to animals though there is within it an increasingly obvious gap.

We have heard how the measure is supported by all the key players. The veterinary service, both within and outside government, industry and the NFU recognise the need for the measure. We have heard how the Bill has long been sought by welfare organisations engaged in the day-to-day job of protecting animals and, as I made clear, the Government are pleased to pledge their support.

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This House has a long history of recognising the need to protect in law the welfare of animals. This is a sorely needed addition to the framework of law we have in place and I commend the Bill to the House.

12.3 p.m.

Baroness Fookes: My Lords, I am delighted with the warm reception for the Bill. I thank particularly the noble Lords, Lord Beaumont and Lord Addington, my noble friend Lord Soulsby, and the noble Lord, Lord Carter, for their support. I had the support, with reservations, of the noble Viscount, Lord Simon, and my noble friend Lord Luke.

In welcoming that support perhaps I can add a personal note. Lady Wharton--Ziki as we all knew her--is, sadly, no longer in the House but she would have been here today to support the Bill. She was a splendid friend of the animals and worked extraordinarily hard for them. I know she would have been one of the warmest supporters of the Bill and I pay my own tribute to a lady who had become a very good friend and whom I sorely miss, as I am sure do many other noble Lords.

Noble Lords: Hear, hear!

Baroness Fookes: My Lords, certain reservations were expressed about terms in the Bill, mostly dealt with admirably by the noble Lord, Lord Carter. Perhaps I can add one or two brief comments. We shall have to agree to differ on the words, "for commercial purposes". I believe that it is a strength of the Bill that that phrase is not defined; other noble Lords disagree. I should like to point out to my noble friend Lord Luke that the key issue in that regard is not the species of the animal, it is the use to which the animal is put.

The noble Viscount, Lord Simon, was anxious that individuals rather than bodies should be named as prosecutors under the special terms of this Bill. However, that would probably be impractical and it is better that it remains with an organisation. However, one can make certain that the written agreement is tightly drawn. If it was proved under the terms of the agreement that any individual was unsatisfactory, they could certainly be written out of any further agreements. It was said that it could put at risk the organisation itself. I feel that that is not likely and I hope that that explanation satisfies the noble Viscount's concern.

The noble Viscount also raised the question of the need for a copy of the order to accompany the power of entry. My guess is that, in practice, any prosecutor would carry such a copy with him. However, it is a matter which can be considered when MAFF draws up the agreement and consults on whether or not it should be written in. Again, I hope that satisfies the anxiety of the noble Viscount.

The point raised by my noble friend Lord Skelmersdale in relation to human rights procedure was dealt with by the noble Lord, Lord Carter. I operate on a much lower level. I know that if that provision had been included in the Bill, it would have

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been very controversial. As a Private Member's Bill, without the might of the government machine behind it, it would probably have faltered before even reaching this House. That was my practical reason for not wishing for it to be included, although I agree that in an ideal world it would be better to have it in.

I am not sure that I need to deal with any further points raised; most were dealt with by the noble Lord, Lord Carter, in his winding-up speech. It remains for me to ask your Lordships to give this Bill a fair wind, bearing in mind that the time-scale is extremely tight. If this Bill, as everyone hopes, is to become law, it will need a speedy passage through this House. On that note, I commend the Bill to the House.

On Question, Bill read a second time, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.

Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty

12.8 p.m.

Baroness Williams of Crosby rose to ask Her Majesty's Government what they see as the future of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in the light of American and other proposals for the national missile defence system.

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, first, I express my gratitude to those Members of your Lordships' House who decided to stay on for this debate on a Friday afternoon, which is always premium time for leaving the House for other purposes. Secondly, I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Symons of Vernham Dean, for coming in when I know that she is extremely busy. I apologise for bringing her into the House but this is a matter of such grave importance, not least given the debate that has broken out in the United States in the course of the American presidential election, that it is a useful moment for this House to express its views and opinions.

Also, I am sure I speak on behalf of all Members of the House when I say how deeply we regret that illness made it impossible for the noble Baroness, Lady Scotland, to attend this debate. We all wish her a rapid recovery. We recognise her great contribution to this House, as we do that of her colleague, the noble Baroness, Lady Symons.

Let me start by saying that one of the problems about this whole extremely difficult issue is that the Government have so far resolutely responded to parliamentary Questions with what appears to be a logical response until one looks at it more closely. The Government's position expressed in answer to a number of parliamentary Questions posed by my noble friend Lord Jenkins of Putney, the noble Lord, Lord Chalfont, myself and others, has consistently been, "We have not been formally approached by the United States with regard to this matter. We do not expect to be formally approached until a decision has been taken and at that point we will say where we stand".

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This is crucial because, as many Members of your Lordships' House will understand, the early warning system at Fylingdales and the associated system of infra-red sensors at Menwith Hill are a crucial part of the present configuration of the proposed national missile defence of the United States. Without the facilities in the United Kingdom, and possibly also those in Greenland, the present configuration of the national missile defence would be unable to continue. In other words, in much of the technical argument there has been an assumption that the UK will co-operate. Our position, therefore, is not only that of an ally but also that of an essential and crucial ally in this matter. And no one doubts that we want to be good allies. The record of this country in the Gulf War, in Yugoslavia and elsewhere indicates that we are extremely loyal and supportive allies of the United States.

However, I am troubled by the fact that we in this country are not having the kind of debate which the United States is having; a debate which our own views might substantially influence. Perhaps I may give the House an example. The United States is locked into a technical and highly informed discussion of what kind of NMD there should be, if there is to be one at all. Many bodies have already contributed to that discussion; for example, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Belfer Centre of Strategic and International Affairs at Harvard, the University of Maryland's public affairs department and the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) professors concerned with issues of national security. Fortunately, there is now a lively intellectual debate in the United States.

From the United Kingdom, there has been virtual silence. There was, however, an encouraging Answer from the noble Baroness, Lady Scotland, to a Question tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Jenkins of Putney, that:

    "Her Majesty's Government have conveyed their views on the possible deployment of a National Missile Defence system to the US Administration in numerous recent bilateral and multilateral discussions, as have other NATO allies".--[Official Report, 10/10/00; col. WA29.]

I believe that the time has come when Parliament might be given at least a glimpse of those numerous bilateral messages to the United States and multilateral messages to other allies.

Perhaps I may begin by looking briefly at the difference of opinion between the two presidential candidates. They are of great importance to this country. Vice-President Gore has indicated that he would continue the line taken by President Clinton, which originally was one of trying to limit national missile defence to the first stage; in other words, the placing of interceptor missiles in Alaska. The original proposal was for 20 interceptor missiles but that was increased to 100.

It is possible that the first stage could be comprised by an amendment to the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, although that is not altogether clear and would of course require the agreement of Russia, which is the

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only other signatory to that treaty. Many experts agree that that treaty has been a fundamental foundation stone to the limitation of the arms race during the past 30 years.

There is no commitment for Vice President Gore to go beyond that stage and he has made it plain that he would try to persuade Congress to ratify the CTBT treaty, which your Lordships will know it rejected a few months ago. That would give great reassurance to countries such as Russia, China and the NATO allies.

Governor Bush began by going much further and talking about a highly sophisticated system of sea-based, but possibly even space-based, missiles--inevitably, that would completely destroy the ABM treaty, which forbids it--and that would constitute the leaping to a new technology of defence for the United States. I am pleased to say that in the past few weeks somewhat wiser counsels have prevailed--no one doubts the quality of many of Governor Bush's advisers. He has announced that there would be a complete review of the missile issue before he decided to raise funds from Congress in order to finance it. He suggested that that decision might be put off until the beginning of 2002. That is a crucial reason why the United Kingdom should contribute to a debate taking place in the circles which surround a man who may soon become President of the United States.

However, the debate goes further than that. Perhaps I may give a brief outline of it and then turn to the issues which we in the United Kingdom might want to raise. President Clinton made it clear that there were four criteria on which he would base a final judgment about the NMD system. In the event, he decided to defer the decision to his successor, whoever that might be.

The first criterion was the feasibility of the system. Great doubt has been thrown on that feasibility, not just by the failure to date of the tests but, more crucially, by the fact that there has been very little discussion or technical analysis of the issue of the countermeasures which might be advanced by the states against which the NMD system would be directed--rogue states, terrorist groups and others.

The Union of Concerned Scientists points out that countermeasures would be available to states which were regarded as a threat and that those countermeasures which would require sophisticated technology would not require more sophisticated technology than building missiles themselves. As regards countermeasures, little consideration has been given.

More importantly--and I believe it is so crucial that I shall say it slowly--all existing tests have been based on the assumption of 100 per cent knowledge of countermeasures by the other side. That is inconceivable. There is no way that a rogue state would allow other countries to learn all about its countermeasures in advance.

The other aspect of feasibility which is troubling is that there have been no planned tests--apart from two that have taken place in the past two weeks--with regard to how far national missile interceptors could

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distinguish between decoys and the target weapon. The existing tests have been done with only a limited number of decoys and the Union of Concerned Scientists in the United States points out that those decoys are not the ones most difficult to distinguish from the target missile. They are relatively easy to distinguish.

The second of President Clinton's criteria was that of threat. That is something about which the UK knows quite a lot. It is difficult to see why a terrorist group or rogue state--I do not like the term but use it only because it has been used in the American debate--if it were determined to cause great damage to another country would turn to building sophisticated and expensive missiles as its first line of attack, as distinct from biological weapons which are cheap and utterly devastating.

The Union of Concerned Scientists/Massachusetts Institute of Technology report has pointed out that a single container of anthrax could destroy more human lives than the nuclear bomb at Hiroshima and would cost infinitely less. If a country or terrorist group is determined to cause destruction or great damage to another country, building missiles is not the most obvious solution which comes to mind. In case noble Lords think I may be talking in a virtual way, I might point out the devastating consequences of the sarin attack on the Tokyo underground system a couple of years ago. We know a lot about the methods which terrorists use, in this country, and I suggest that the United States would be well advised to look at the wide range of weapons of mass destruction which can be used and to question whether missiles are the only or even the most serious threat.

Thirdly, there is the cost. The present estimate is 60 billion dollars for the first stage and 140 billion dollars for a second or third stage. I repeat that the second and third stages would certainly be in breach of the ABM treaty. These are huge sums which, frankly, could not be matched by other countries.

That brings me to my final and, I believe, most serious point. The effect on external countries of NMD is central to the debate. I look at three. The first country so concerned is Russia. That country has reacted in an extraordinarily constructive way. President Putin went immediately to the Duma and persuaded it to ratify the Start II treaty, which had been held up by the unwillingness of Members of Russia's Parliament to support it. Not only did he secure agreement to Start II in the spring of this year; he gained agreement to commence negotiations on Start III. Start II would reduce the number of strategic missiles from the present 7,000-plus in both Russia and the United States to slightly over half that figure, and Start III would reduce it again by half to about 1,500 warheads on each side.

Like other Members of this House, I spend a good deal of time in Russia. The state of maintenance and care of its nuclear arsenal is terrifying. The "Kursk" is only the most recent example of the failure properly to maintain dangerous and potentially very long-lasting nuclear materials. The Kola peninsula and Sevastopol,

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which I have seen, are full of sunken submarines and ships. Nobody attempts to deal with them; they are simply left to corrode within the Black Sea, White Sea and elsewhere. To deny a real opportunity to try to reduce that arsenal in a massive way, and do something which will probably lead to its increase, is highly irresponsible.

Currently, China has 20 nuclear warheads in the tense Taiwan Gulf, most of them in Guangdong. China has already said in terms that if NMD went ahead it would feel obliged greatly to increase the number of its warheads and might regard space as militarised; in other words, it would feel free to shoot down communication and other satellites. Finally, NATO allies themselves, in particular Germany and France, have expressed grave doubts about NMD.

I do not ask the Minister to tell us now the position of the Government: I fully accept that she cannot do so. But I hope that the noble Baroness will explore with us some of the issues on both sides which arise as a result of this debate so that we can at least be heard within the great discussion which is taking place in the United States so that our questions, doubts, confidence and trust can all be conveyed to our great ally before a decision is made and not reserved until it is made, in which case, frankly, the loyalty of the UK as an ally would be on the line in an utterly unnecessary way.

12.23 p.m.

Lord Chalfont: My Lords, on behalf of the whole House I should like to thank the noble Baroness, Lady Williams of Crosby, for initiating this important debate which, as she said, bears on our national security and, in the long run, perhaps our very survival. However, the noble Baroness will not be surprised to hear that I shall take a position very different from hers on the whole question of the ABM treaty and ballistic missile defence.

The noble Baroness made much of the possibility that ballistic missile defence, in particular NMD in the United States, might constitute a breach of the ABM treaty. In that, and a good deal of what she said with great force and sincerity, the noble Baroness has given an example of the false attraction of arms control as a substitute for, rather than an adjunct to, defence. Arms control treaties should be an integral element of a wider defence and security strategy, and not something dealt with on their own.

A typical example of an arms control treaty conceived, drafted and signed without much regard to the overall defence and strategic strategy either of the West (as it was called in those days) or anyone else in the world is the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. I do not regard that treaty as a cornerstone of international security as the noble Baroness suggested. I believe that it was quite useless from the moment it was signed. The treaty was largely symbolic anyway, and even as a symbol it failed for one reason which goes to the heart of the whole strategy of arms control as a substitute for defence: the Soviet Union consistently cheated from the moment the treaty was signed. It pursued from day

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one policies which were forbidden by the treaty that it had signed. It cheated before, during and after negotiation, and continued to do so until the collapse of the soviet empire.

Russia, as the successor to the Soviet Union, continues to cheat now in the context of the SA10 missile which, as the noble Baroness and other noble Lords will know, is a dual-purpose missile designed to circumvent the whole thrust of the ABM Treaty. The most vivid and outstanding example of that was the Kasnoyarsk phased array radar which was built by the Soviet Union specifically against the provisions of the ABM Treaty. It was a flagrant breach of that treaty. No one who knows anything about defence technology can be in any doubt as to what the Kasnoyarsk phased radar array is about; it avoids the consequences of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. If anyone has such doubt, he need only read the speech of Mr Shevardnaze in 1989 in which he admitted in terms that the Soviet Union had, for reasons of its own national interest, cheated on the treaty.

We now know that that radar system was initiated by the Soviet Union in 1972 which was the year in which the ABM Treaty was signed. Let us not place too much reliance upon, or be too affectionate about, the ABM Treaty. It was a useless treaty from the moment it was signed, and it continues to be so. But even if it had been effective at the time of the Cold War, at the time of the bi-polar confrontation, as it was then called, it is now, even if it was not before, archaic and totally irrelevant to modern strategic analysis. It was an element of what was called mutual assured destruction (MAD)--a concept between the two great superpowers which meant that they would not do things which would destroy the capacity of the other side to inflict appalling damage in either a first strike or a retaliatory strike.

I do not need to dwell long on the fact that the changes in the international order since those days have been such that whatever relevance the ABM Treaty ever had, it has now lost. In a world of many countries, not just three, four or five, with nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles capable of delivering them, a treaty between two nuclear powers designed simply to ensure that the attack capability of the other is not damaged is not relevant and does not make sense. Mutual assured destruction is no use against the kind of threat which we now face in this multi-polar world. It is no defence against religious fanatics, for example.

Let us not forget that the two signatories to the treaty--only two, as the noble Baroness said--the United States and what was the Soviet Union, both have the right to abrogate that treaty under its terms. Russia wants to keep the treaty for perfectly understandable Russian security reasons. The United States wants it to be amended to allow it to deploy a national missile defence system. If it is not amended--let us be in no doubt--the United States will walk away from it. Anyone who believes that the United States will be prevented deploying one of these systems sooner or later is not living in the real world.

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The United States will deploy its missiles. No amount of high-sounding talk from its allies or from anyone else will prevent the US so doing. I believe that to be the case, whether it is President Gore or President Bush. If it is President Bush, I think we need have no doubt that a very full and comprehensive national missile system will be put into effect almost immediately. Governor Gore has openly undertaken to follow the policies of his predecessor. But if it is President Gore, it may take a little longer.

I said that people who do not believe that this will happen are not living in the real world. The question is: what is the real world now? We have heard a lot of rhetoric about rogue states as though they were the only threat we and the United States face in the modern world. The noble Baroness said, with some element of satire in her voice, that these rogue states could not possibly have the knowledge of countermeasures which are implicit in the assumptions of the United States defence establishment.

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