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Law of War

Question for Ministry of Defence

UIN 133771, tabled on 21 March 2018

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether the use of lethal force is confined to (a) armed conflicts in which the UK is openly involved and (b) exceptional circumstances in which there is an imminent threat to the UK.

Answered on

26 March 2018

The use of offensive lethal force overseas is controlled by robust Rules of Engagement and is ordinarily confined to armed conflicts in which the UK is openly involved. However, and as the Government has stated previously, if the UK is subject to an armed attack or the imminent threat of an armed attack, it reserves the right to take action first and inform Parliament after the event. Any decision to use lethal force outside of an armed conflict would be conducted on a case by case basis but always cognisant of the international law principles of necessity and proportionality.

Named day
Named day questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.