Arms Export Licences (Saudi Arabia)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:24 am on 26th September 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Elizabeth Truss Elizabeth Truss The Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade, Minister for Women and Equalities 11:24 am, 26th September 2019

The hon. Gentleman asked me first about the process that took place within Government. The answer is that the joint unit is staffed by officials from the Ministry of Defence, the Foreign Office and the Department for International Trade, and clearly there was a failing when it came to sharing information across Government. A director general of the Department for Work and Pensions is conducting an investigation to look precisely at the question of which Department issued, or did not issue, the information and how it was shared. The results of that investigation will be put forward in due course. This is a complex area. The Export Control Joint Unit approves approximately 16,000 licences a year, so it is important that we get this right and do not rush to an answer before we are ready.

Regarding the consolidated criteria on licensing, it is also important that we adhere to the terms of our undertaking to the Court and our statement to Parliament, and I was talking earlier specifically about breaches of our undertaking to the Court and our statement to Parliament.