Export Licensing: High Court Judgment

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:47 pm on 10th July 2017.

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Photo of Liam Fox Liam Fox The Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade 4:47 pm, 10th July 2017

I thank the hon. Lady for her comments. As the judgment set out, the case focused on the airstrikes conducted by a coalition led by Saudi Arabia in support of the legitimate Government of Yemen against the Houthi rebellion. We need to put on record that that is the origin of the conflict. Of course the humanitarian issues in Yemen are deeply troubling to all of us; we have all seen the pictures. The United Kingdom, through our various agencies and Government Departments, has been fulfilling as much of our diplomatic and humanitarian actions as we can in the circumstances. This will only be brought to an end by a political settlement, not by a military settlement.

The hon. Lady talks about the “clear risk” test. The judgment could not have been clearer that the Government met the “clear risk” test of criterion 2c in the way they carried this out.

On the hon. Lady’s point about the Committees on Arms Export Controls, I have absolutely no objection to such a Committee being set up. In fact, I think it is beneficial to us to ensure at all times the highest reputation of our probity in these matters. I would have absolutely no objection whatsoever to such a Committee being in place.