Friday, 4 October 2019

Campaign response - End unlawful arms sales to Saudi Arabia

Recently a number of constituents have written to me about the UK's continued licensing of equipment to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen, in light of a court ruling in June that the  sale of UK-made arms to Saudi forces for use in Yemen was in fact unlawful.

Following the ruling, the UK Government has now said it will now stop granting any new licences for weapons exports to Saudi Arabia or coalition partners involved militarily in Yemen.

The International Trade Secretary has apologised to the Commons in the past week after routine analysis of statistics found a licence for the air cooler for a Renault Sherpa Light Scout vehicle had been issued in the days following the ruling.

An internal inquiry has been launched by the DiT’s permanent secretary to establish whether other licences had been issued against the assurances to the court or Parliament, and to ensure there could be no further breaches.

The Government has repeatedly assured parliamentarians and the public that it is seriously concerned about the humanitarian situation in Yemen. Since the start of the crisis in 2015 our humanitarian commitment to Yemen now stands at £770m.

Ultimately the only lasting solution to peace in Yemen is through a political settlement. The UK Government is actively supporting the UN Special Envoy for Yemen in his efforts to bring the various parties on both sides around the table to find a way forward.