Monthly Archives: July 2013

Bob Ainsworth Speech on Trident Alternatives Review

In the House of Commons yesterday, Bob delivered a speech which questioned the remit and scope of, and the process used to produce, the Trident Alternatives Review.  Bob made it clear during his speech that in his opinion, it was only worth having a deterrent if it actually deterred:    

Mr Bob Ainsworth (Coventry North East) (Lab): The political class in this country and others struggles to communicate and maintain credibility with the electorate. It is not always our fault, but sometimes we are to blame, and when we commission such a report and present it in this manner, we do serious damage to our credibility when talking to our electorate. In my opinion, the report was born of unworthy motives and conducted without any outside consultation, and to present it with the kind of hyperbole we have heard tonight—as the most comprehensive examination of our nuclear deterrent in a generation—is clear and utter nonsense. The report picks apart nothing in the 2006 White Paper; indeed, despite the best efforts of the right hon. and learned Member for North East Fife (Sir Menzies Campbell) at the last general election, it confirms the basic underpinning of the report and denies the credibility of what was said at the last general election: that we can have a cheap nuclear deterrent.

Of course, there is the question of whether we should have a nuclear deterrent at all. It is raised in all our constituencies all the time and is a perfectly reasonable question. Some Members believe and say openly that we should not have one, while others, I think, believe the same, but do not say so openly. The first question, then, is whether we should have one at all, but the report was not commissioned to examine that question; it was commissioned to examine the second question, which inevitably flows from the first: if we decide to have a nuclear deterrent, what kind should it be? What is the best system? What is affordable, effective and a real deterrent? That is where the report falls down.

There is no such thing as a non-credible or a less-credible deterrent. There can be no such thing as a part-time deterrent. To be a deterrent, something has to deter. Doing anything less than deter stops a nuclear deterrent from being a deterrent at all. It turns it into what? Potentially, at times of crisis, it turns into an invitation; it most certainly turns it from a deterrent into a weapon. If we look at what underpins the White Paper— and as the previous speaker clearly stated—we seen that such a weapon would be dangerous to deploy. How, when and in what circumstances would it be put to sea? How would we disguise, at a time of rising tension, that we were doing that? It would be dangerous to deploy and difficult to sustain. It is all right to say that if we have three boats, we could, for a time in some circumstances, up our level of deterrent and go back to continuous-at-sea deterrence. Yes, we could do that for a while if we got ahead of the crisis, stepped back to CASD, deployed a boat at sea and kept it at sea throughout that time. But with three boats, for how long could we do that?

The Government and the Labour party accept—indeed, it would be nonsense not to accept it—that technology may change the need for a fourth boat. If it does, why on earth would we do anything other than have three boats? However, if technology does not change those basic parameters, we will lose our ability to deter for a considerable time. This is not something we can just rescale in a matter of months; it would take years to rescale and we would therefore be rendering our deterrent non-sustainable.

This report does not ask an honest question and I do not believe it was an honest process, but the review has at least flushed out the issue of whether Trident can be done on the cheap. I would not want to have an examination in a cheap operating theatre by a doctor who had been trained on the cheap, and I would not want a deterrent that was done on the cheap. If we are to have a deterrent, let us have a deterrent that deters, as that is the only one worth having.

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Bob Ainsworth to meet with Sports Minister to discuss CCFC

Bob Ainsworth – Member of Parliament for Coventry North East – has secured a meeting with Hugh Robertson MP – Sports & Tourism Minister – on Thursday 18 July 2013 at 1pm to discuss the situation at Coventry City Football Club (CCFC).

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Football League Approve Coventry City ground share arrangement

Bob was saddened to read a Football League statement released today, which confirmed that approval had been given to allow Coventry City Football Club City to play its home matches at Northampton Town’s Sixfields Stadium for an initial period of three seasons. 

Bob said this decision was hugely “regrettable” for Sky Blue fans and will certainly prove detrimental to the club.

To view the Football League Statement click here

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Bob writes to Football League to oppose proposal for CCFC ground share with Northampton

Bob Ainsworth has written to the Football League Chairman – Greg Clarke – to outline his concerns – and those of Sky Blue fans – in relation to the proposal for Coventry City Football Club to ground share with Northampton Town next season. 

This is a copy of Bob’s letter to the Football League 

 

 

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BOB WRITES TO SPORTS MINISTER ON FOOTBALL GOVERNANCE

Bob recently wrote to Hugh Robertson MP, Minister for Sport and Tourism, regarding the issue of football governance.  This is a copy of the Minister’s response on football governance

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Bob Ainsworth writes to the Football League over Brandon reports

Bob Ainsworth today wrote to the Football League Chairman – Greg Clarke – to outline his concerns over reports that Coventry City Football Club may be interested in purchasing the Coventry Bees Speedway Stadium site at Brandon in order to build a new stadium.   

In his letter to the Football League, Bob explained the reasons why he believes the Brandon site is unsuitable to accommodate a new football stadium.  He also sought assurances from the Football League that they would appropriately scrutinise and undertake detailed investigations into the credibility of any such plan were it raised with them.

To view a copy of Bob’s letter to the Football League click here

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Bob questions the Prime Minister on Afghanistan

In the House of Commons yesterday, the Prime Minister made a statement on Afghanistan.  During the statement, Bob sought clarification on how the ISAF countries would address the equipment challenges faced by the Afghan national security forces:

Mr Bob Ainsworth (Coventry North East) (Lab): The Afghan forces have improved their capability year on year, but there are still challenges in logistics and equipment. I am told that there are no plans for us to pass over or gift any equipment to the Afghans—even some of the more theatre-specific equipment that we have acquired over the years. If all the ISAF countries adopt the same attitude, how are those challenges going to be met after the draw-down of the combat mission?

The Prime Minister: First of all, we look at all the equipment we have and at individual Afghan requests to see whether it is something that we can make available. The right hon. Gentleman is absolutely right to say that the capabilities of these forces have increased. As he knows, in talking to our forces out in Afghanistan, it is striking to find out that we are talking to people on their second or third tour, who have seen a radical improvement in what is available. One of the challenges is making sure that the Afghan army has all the enablers and all the assistance it needs—and the Americans are specifically looking at that problem. What has been noticeable about the recent attacks on Kabul is that they were dealt with entirely by the Afghan national security forces—and dealt with very effectively. (Hansard, 2 July 2013)

To view the Prime Minister’s statement in full, please click here.

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