Foreign Affairs Committee: Press Notice



The Foreign Affairs Committee announced its inquiry into Global Security: non-proliferation and issued terms of reference in PN 38 on 14 July 2008. The Committee today announced that it is amending the terms of reference set out in that Press Notice, to include conventional weapons.

Under the revised terms of reference, the Foreign Affairs Committee will therefore examine the work of the British Government in working towards the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's policy goal on countering weapons proliferation and its causes. The Committee will consider the proliferation of nuclear, chemical, biological and conventional weapons. It will also consider the role of ballistic missiles.

In particular, the inquiry will examine:

€ The British Government's non-proliferation approach, as set out in the National Security Strategy;

€ The effectiveness of the current rules-based international system in curbing current weapons proliferation;

€ The potential merit of current diplomatic initiatives on non-proliferation, for instance the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference and the proposed Arms Trade Treaty

€ The role of arms control and disarmament, including nuclear disarmament, in non-proliferation efforts.

The deadline for submissions of written evidence has been extended to 1 December 2008.

Guide to submitting written evidence


Written evidence should contain, if appropriate, a brief introduction to the persons or organisations submitting it (perhaps stating their area of expertise, etc.), and any factual information they have to offer from which the Committee might be able to draw conclusions (or which could be put to other witnesses for their reactions). It is also helpful to include any recommendations for action by the Government or others which the witnesses would like the Committee to consider for inclusion in its report to the House.


There are no rules about the form written evidence should take; what follows is simply guidance based on what Committees have found useful in the past. If written evidence is very brief, it can be sent as a letter, but otherwise it is helpful for the evidence to be in the form of a self-contained memorandum, with any request to give oral evidence, etc., in a covering letter. If longer than one page, memoranda should have numbered paragraphs (if a memorandum is later printed, page numbers will change, so it is helpful to be able to refer to paragraph numbers). If long, a memorandum should include a one-page summary of the main points, and a table of contents.


If witnesses wish the whole, or part, of their evidence to remain confidential to the Committee, they should state this clearly in their covering letter, giving reasons and, if necessary, discussing the matter with the Clerk. The decision on whether to accede to that request is a matter for the Committee itself.

Supplementary Material

Supplementary material (leaflets, articles from periodicals, etc.) may also be sent, but it is helpful if the memorandum itself is self-contained (summarising the main points made in the supplementary material if necessary). This is because material published elsewhere is not usually reprinted by Committees.

Electronic Submission

The preferred form of submission is by e-mail attachment to the Committee's mailbox address ( It should be in MS Word or Rich Text format; this makes it easier should the Committee decide to print the memorandum, and produces more accurate copy . Memoranda can also be submitted on a disk. If a memorandum is submitted by e-mail, a letter should also be sent validating the e-mail.


Once written evidence has been sent in, it is for the Committee to decide the manner and timing of its publication. However, the Committee has agreed that witnesses may publish their own written evidence before it is published with the Report. Witnesses intending to do this should first contact the Clerk of the Committee.

Media enquiries:

Members of the press with enquiries should contact Alex Paterson, Select Committee Media Officer, on 020 7219 1589, or 07917 488488, or by email to

Further Information:

1. The Foreign Affairs Committee is responsible for scrutinising the "expenditure, administration and policy" of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and its associated agencies. The text of all Committee publications, including Reports, can be found on the Committee's website at

2. Committee meetings are open to the public. Access is via St Stephen's Entrance for the House of Commons Committee Rooms and the main entrance on the Thames Embankment for Portcullis House Rooms. It is advisable to allow about 10 minutes to pass through security checks. There is no system for the prior reservation of seats in the Committee Rooms.

The membership of the Committee is as follows: Mike Gapes (Chairman), Labour, Rt Hon Sir Menzies Campbell, Liberal Democrats, Mr Fabian Hamilton, Labour, Rt Hon David Heathcoat-Amory, Conservative, Mr John Horam, Conservative, Mr Eric Illsley, Labour, Mr Paul Keetch, Liberal Democrats, Andrew Mackinlay, Labour, Mr Malcolm Moss, Conservative, Sandra Osborne, Labour, Mr Greg Pope, Labour, Mr Ken Purchase, Labour, Rt Hon Sir John Stanley, Conservative, Ms Gisela Stuart, Labour

Specific Committee Information: Tel 020 7219 6394, email -

Media Enquiries: Alex Paterson, Tel 020 7219 1589, 07917 488 488 email -

Committee Website:

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Publications / Reports / Reference Material: Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge St, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474). Committee reports, press releases, evidence transcripts, Bills; research papers, a directory of MPs, plus Hansard (from 8am daily) and much more, can be found on