UK Campaign to Stop Killer Robots in Parliament

The UK Campaign to Stop Killer Robots works with UK political parties and parliamentarians to build cross-party awareness of the challenges posed by autonomous weapons systems. We collaborate with MPs and Peers to stimulate parliamentary debate on autonomous weapons systems and make the case for the UK Government to support the creation of a legally binding treaty to regulate these weapons.

Parliamentary Activity

In 2021, a cross-party group of parliamentarians who are concerned about growing autonomy in weapons systems was established. This informal group is facilitated by the UK Campaign to Stop Killer Robots and includes parliamentarians from the four biggest UK political parties.

The group receives commentary on relevant international meetings, briefings on the latest UK policy developments and invites to events – as well as acting as a platform for dialogue and information exchange. With participants’ agreement, the names of parliamentarians who are members are published below.  

Alyn Smith MP (SNP)
Baroness Hodgson of Abinger (Conservative)
Darren Jones MP (Labour)
Lord Bishop of Oxford (Diocese of Oxford)
Lord Browne of Ladyton (Labour)
Lord Clement-Jones (Liberal Democrats)
Lord Desai (Non-affiliated)
Kenny MacAskill MP (SNP)
Kirsten Oswald MP (SNP)
Mick Whitley MP (Labour) 

If you are a parliamentarian or a staff member for a parliamentarian you can join the group by emailing [email protected].

Throughout 2022, the UK Campaign to Stop Killer Robots worked with parliamentarians and the UK Government to raise awareness of concerns over lethal autonomous weapons systems – an emerging type of weapon system which can identify and kill people without meaningful human control. The following resource is intended as a detailed listing, together with campaign analysis of recent parliamentary activity on this issue.

Click below to download the document.

As a coalition of UK-based NGOs, tech experts and academics who are concerned with the risks associated with growing autonomy in weapons systems, we regularly submit evidence to relevant UK Parliament Committees providing recommendations on the necessary regulation and safeguards to ensure an ethical and safe use of emerging military technologies.  

Read the UK Campaign’s submission to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee’s Inquiry on ‘Tech and the future of UK foreign policy.’

A Briefing by the UK Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, April 2021.

What is the UK government’s current position?

The UK Government maintains that it ‘does not possess fully autonomous weapons and has no intention of developing them,’claiming that it will always ensure meaningful and context-appropriate human involvement in weapons systems which identify, select and attack targets. However, the MOD continues to pursue research work in all three of the key disciplines underpinning autonomous technology: artificial intelligence and machine learning; robotics; and sensors. 

It is important to note that none of the MOD’s current projects directly intend to develop a lethal autonomous weapon system —a ‘killer robot’ able to select and destroy targets without human intervention. However, in the absence of adequate safeguards and regulation these projects represent developments in technology which could be combined with other systems to form the building blocks of such lethal weapons systems.

Publications that provide indications of current official UK policy regarding killer robots:

Correspondence between the UK campaign and the government

Over the years, the UK Campaign regularly communicated with the UK government in order to call on the UK to take action to facilitate an international treaty to regulate autonomy in weapons systems. Examples include:

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