[News] NATO Backbench Business Debate, 4 July PM


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Backbench Business Debate: NATO
Thursday 4th July, PM.
The two-hour long debate is expected to take place on Thursday afternoon, following the conclusion of Business Question to the Leader of the House and Proceedings on the Supply and Appropriation (Main Estimates) Bill. It may begin later if any Urgent Questions or Statements are granted on the day, as Parliamentary business is subject to change.

The motion for debate is:
That this House has considered the matter of NATO

The arguments put forward by the proposing MPs for the general debate on NATO include:
Hugh Bayley: We believe that it is timely to have a debate about NATO, first because the public are more inquiring. When I first came to the House 20 years ago, there was perhaps a greater sense of deference, and the idea that people in Westminster knew about these difficult issues of defence and security and you could trust it to them. Post Afghanistan and Iraq, I think the public want to know what we are up to and to express their views.

NATO remains the foundation of our country’s defence and security. The doctrine of collective security, the fact that we need help from allies to defend ourselves and likewise they need help from us, remains fundamental; nevertheless, the United States is involved in what they describe as a pivot, a change of focus. They are giving progressively more attention to the Pacific and to what they see as the growing security threat from China and giving less attention to Europe, leaving Europe to do more on its own. The Libya operation, for instance, was a European-led and managed operation, albeit with American support. We feel that these issues need to be discussed and debated, in part to inform Members and in part because we hope to inform the wider public about NATO through a debate on the Floor of the House.

The other thing is that it would also be an opportunity to discuss some of the issues the Assembly is addressing. Recently I was elected as President of the Assembly, and I am pushing an agenda for more openness and transparency. For example, I am asking for NATO’s accounts to be independently audited-at the moment the external audit is done by staff on NATO’s payroll. We are also asking for its accounts to be published. Just as our Ministry of Defence has published accounts for 100 years, we see no reason why NATO should not do so, but with the same sort of safeguards that apply to security matters. We are also asking for a procedure for asking parliamentary questions at the NATO secretariat. These ideas could also be discussed during the debate, and we hope you will provide an opportunity for it after the Queen’s Speech.

Hugh Bayley and Jason McCartney made representations.
See the full Backbench Business Committee evidence at [url="http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmbackben/130423/130423.htm”] Backbench Business Committee backbench debates (Tuesday 23 April 2013)[/url]

About Backbench Business Debates:
There are 35 days during the current Parliamentary schedule where business is decided not by the government but by the Backbench Business Committee. Topics for debate can be suggested by backbench MPs from any political party. The Backbench Business Committee then selects topics for debates on their merits and considers criteria including:

• topicality and timing
• why holding a debate is important
• the number of MPs who are likely to take part
• whether a debate has already been held or is likely to be arranged through other routes

Which of these topics regarding NATO would you be most interested in?

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