DEFENCE – INF TREATY VIOLATED BY RUSSIA – 22 October 2018
Dr Julian Lewis: As I am sure you will vividly remember, Mr Speaker, on this very date 35 years ago the largest ever demonstration by the campaign for one-sided nuclear disarmament marched in London. Just under 100,000 people marched – although, typically, four times that number was claimed – and the then leader of the Labour party, a lifelong unilateralist, told the rally that NATO should not deploy cruise or Pershing II missiles. If that policy had been followed, we would not have had an intermediate-range nuclear forces treaty. What assessment have my right hon. Friend and his Department made of whether that INF treaty, which has been successful for so long, has now been violated by Russia?
[The Secretary of State for Defence (Gavin Williamson): It has been our clear and consistent view that Russia has been in breach of that treaty. We urge Russia to comply with the treaty.
Mr Speaker: I do vividly remember the demonstration in question, not least because, as the right hon. Member for New Forest East (Dr Lewis) is keenly aware, at almost exactly the same time I made an absolutely splendid speech at the University of Essex student union that was based overwhelmingly on the sagacious briefing provided by the right hon. Gentleman.]