Parliament set to debate new missile defense system
January 10, 2008
RAF MILDENHALL, England — The British Parliament will consider arguments Thursday on a controversial new missile defense system proposed to be installed in part at RAF Menwith Hill.
The British Ministry of Defence rankled activists across Britain last year when it published a press release on Parliament’s last day in session before the summer recess saying that RAF Menwith Hill would host a section of the missile defense program.
Ahead of the debate, a far-left British lord has accused the British government of failing to inform the public about the potential risks of hosting part of the controversial missile defense program.
The comments from Lord William Wallace, a member of the House of Lords from the Liberal Democrat Party, came as Parliament prepares to debate the missile defense program for the first time.
“Part of the problem is that our government has been essentially dishonest with Parliament and the public,” Wallace said in a Tuesday interview with Stars and Stripes.
“The government has to be much better at explaining what the advantages are for the British people. The question of whether it makes Britain more safe or less safe.”
Member of Parliament Jeremy Corbyn, a member of Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Labour Party, proposed a motion in 2007 against hosting the missile defense system, asserting it will “encourage a new nuclear arms race” and “put the U.K. in the front line in future wars.”
Wallace also repudiated an August 2007 report in a British newspaper, The Telegraph, that cited unnamed sources as saying that RAF Lakenheath would possibly host missiles.
“That’s highly unlikely,” said Wallace, who is currently a professor of international relations at the London School of Economics.
RAF Menwith Hill is a 560-acre Yorkshire installation home to the Air Force’s 451st Intelligence Squadron as well as a National Security Agency eavesdropping station.