The Liberal Democrats have voted to maintain pressure on Labour to uphold its manifesto pledge to stay in the Euratom (European Atomic Energy Community).
The Lib Dems annual conference, which concluded yesterday (19 September) in Bournemouth, passed a motion calling on the UK to remain full member of Euratom and to re-join the renegotiation of the treaty that govern the trade in nuclear materials and labour across the EU.
The motion also calls on Lib Dem Parliamentarians to press Labour to uphold its manifesto commitment to remain a member of Euratom.
The motion expresses concern over the government’s commitment to withdraw from the Euratom treaty, for which they say it has no mandate.
And the Lib Dems say the withdrawal is rooted in the government’s “ideological opposition” to the European Court of Justice retaining its existing role arbitrating disputes.
The Lib Dem motion follows a written statement last week by BEIS (business, energy and industrial strategy) secretary, Greg Clark, in which he reaffirmed the government’s intention to exit Euratom.
But he informed the House of Commons in the statement that the UK would seek the existing Euratom standards as much as possible when drawing up its new nuclear safeguarding regime.
Clark said: “As part of preparations for EU exit, the UK is establishing a domestic nuclear safeguards regime to ensure that the UK continues to maintain its position as a responsible nuclear state and that withdrawal from Euratom will not result in the weakening of our future safeguards standards and oversight in the UK.
“This government believes that it is vitally important that the new domestic nuclear safeguards regime, to be run by the Office for Nuclear Regulation, is as comprehensive and robust as that currently provided by Euratom.”