Sale of Arms: War in Yemen

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:36 pm on 13th July 2020.

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Photo of Greg Hands Greg Hands The Minister of State, Department for International Trade 3:36 pm, 13th July 2020

I thank the right hon. Lady for her questions, and start by saying that we absolutely share her concern about the humanitarian tragedy in Yemen, which is why the UK is actively engaged in seeking further diplomatic solutions. Let me try to deal with her questions, as far as I am able, as some of the matters are within the competence of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the Ministry of Defence.

Ministers have of course not been wrong in their assessment; if they had been wrong, they would have come to the Dispatch Box. The consolidated criteria have been used in all the assessments of the licences. The number of incidents is an operational question; the role of the Department for International Trade is in assessing the consolidated criteria.

The right hon. Lady talked about a number of incidents over different times and in different ways. The assessment was that there is no pattern in the behaviour of Saudi Arabia, and that these were isolated incidents over some considerable time and also at different times.

The right hon. Lady mentioned the intention and capacity to comply and publish the full assessment of the various incidents and asked for a full analysis of each incident. It is worth saying—as you, Mr Speaker, will certainly understand—that assessments of the different incidents that took place in Yemen will often be informed by confidential information that comes to the Government not necessarily from Saudi Arabia; it would not be appropriate for us to publish those assessments. What we have published, however, are the consolidated criteria and the quarterly lists of each licence that has been granted.