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Defence and Security Equipment International Exhibition

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Office – in the House of Commons on 3rd September 2019.

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Photo of Ann Clwyd Ann Clwyd Labour, Cynon Valley

Which (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department plan to attend the Defence and Security Equipment International exhibition in London in September 2019.

Photo of Andrew Murrison Andrew Murrison Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

No Foreign and Commonwealth Office Ministers are currently scheduled to attend the exhibition. However, FCO officials will attend. The Export Control Joint Unit will be on hand advise companies on the United Kingdom’s export licensing procedures, which, as the right hon. Lady will know, are among the most rigorous in the world.

Photo of Ann Clwyd Ann Clwyd Labour, Cynon Valley

I wish that that were true, but it is not.

I note that Saudi Arabia has been invited to the arms fair once again. Will the Minister tell the House whether the Government are now reviewing all current arms licences to Saudi Arabia following the recent judgment by the Court of Appeal, which instructed them to determine the likelihood of the use of that equipment in serious violation of international humanitarian law, given past violations?

Photo of Andrew Murrison Andrew Murrison Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

I am grateful to the right hon. Lady for her question. The UK Government have sought leave to appeal, and have been granted it. We disagree—with respect—with the court in its determination, and note the lower court’s determination that the process was “rigorous”, “robust” and “multi-layered”. The right hon. Lady will, I believe, understand that our processes in this country are among the most robust in the world. I am proud of them, and she should be too, because of the Export Control Act 2002 and the statement made on 26 October 2000, which underpinned the licensing process that we have—under, of course, a previous Government.