§ Mr. Archy Kirkwood (Roxburgh and Berwickshire)
I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 10, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely,the export of goods used in the manufacture of chemical weapons.The House will know that a tragic war — the Gulf war — is being waged between Iraq and Iran. This tragedy is distressing because of the number of lives that are being lost daily in the conflict. It is even more distressing because there is evidence that chemical weapons are being deployed. Those who have investigated the allegations have concluded that Iraq has been using chemical weapons and that Iranians have been killed by chemical or biological weapons. The matter, therefore, is urgent.
The matter is specific because the Government have administrative machinery available to them to preclude the export of equipment or substances that can be used directly or indirectly to produce chemical weapons. In spite of that machinery, there is evidence that goods are being exported from Britain to Iraq which could potentially be used for the manufacture of chemical weapons. If that is happening, the United Kingdom Government, wittingly or unwittingly, is assisting and enabling Iraq to have the capacity to acquire chemical weapons.
The matter is urgent because until there is an effective ban it is possible that such goods will be exported from Britain. I was pleased to read today that the Minister for Trade has banned under the Export of Goods Control (Amendment) No. 6 Order the export of a series of chemicals which have been, or could be used in the manufacture of chemical weapons. The Government must be congratulated to that extent and the ban is to be welcomed as far as it goes.
I have evidence that goods such as chemical protection kits and water pumps that could be used in industrial processes for producing these horrific weapons are still being exported. The ban on chemicals is welcome but it is important that the House considers urgently the need to extend the ban from chemicals to the goods that are used in the manufacturing processes.
I consider this matter to be specific, urgent and important. The credibility of the United Kingdom is at stake for it is a matter of international concern. Even at this 11th hour, shortly before the Easter recess, I apply for a specific Adjournment debate forthwith on this important matter.
§ Mr. Speaker
The hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire (Mr. Kirkwood) asks leave to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he thinks should have urgent consideration, namely,the export of goods used in the manufacture of chemical weapons.I listened carefully to what the hon. Gentleman said, but I regret that I do not consider the matter that he has raised to be an appropriate one for discussion under Standing Order No. 10 and, therefore, I cannot submit his application to the House.