§ Norman Baker
To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to his speech of 5 March, under what circumstances he supports the right of sovereign states to take preemptive action against other states. 
§ The Prime Minister
Under international law, force may be used in three circumstancesWhen authority is provided by the United Nations Security Council acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. Security Council resolutions adopted under Chapter VII were the authority for military action in Iraq, as set out in the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Solicitor-General on 17 March 2003, Official Report, column 515W. The Security Council may determine the existence of a threat to international peace and security and authorise military force or other action to prevent it becoming an actual breach of the peace.In exercise of the inherent right of individual or collective self-defence recognised in Article 51 of the UN Charter, as was the case with US action in Afghanistan in 2001. This includes the right of self-defence when an armed attack has not yet taken place, but is imminent.In exceptional circumstances, when it is the only way to avert an overwhelming humanitarian catastrophe, as in Kosovo in 1999.
As I made clear in my speech on 5 March, the challenges and threats are of a different nature from anything the world has faced before. We must face the threats posed by proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, oppressive and brutal regimes, poverty, HIV/AIDS and environmental damage. We need to take effective action in response to all these challenges, and we cannot always wait for the threat to fully materialise before we act.562W
I welcome the UN Secretary-General's decision to set up a High Level Panel to review how the UN can respond more effectively to threats to international peace and security, including considering whether any institutional changes are required. And as I also said in my speech on 5 March, the British role should be to construct a consensus behind a broad agenda of justice and security and the means of enforcing it.