Military Training: Overseas Armed Forces

Defence – in the House of Commons on 1st February 2021.

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Photo of John Nicolson John Nicolson Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

Which overseas armed forces have received military training in the UK since 1 January 2020.

Photo of James Heappey James Heappey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

In this period, about 2,000 personnel, from more than 100 countries, have received some form of defence training in the United Kingdom.

Photo of John Nicolson John Nicolson Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)

The Biden Administration have halted the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia, with many Democrats citing the killing of civilians, including children, by Saudi forces in Yemen. A freedom of information request by The Guardian revealed that the Government provided training on UK soil for Saudi military. Will the Minister ensure that the Government expose the widely documented crimes committed by Saudi personnel with US counterparts as they undertake this review? Will he take a leaf out of the American book and reassess whether we should be enabling the Saudi regime, given the awful crimes it has committed?

Photo of James Heappey James Heappey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

The hon. Gentleman will know from the many parliamentary questions that have been asked on this that much of the information relating to licensing is subject to ongoing legal proceedings, but our defence relationship with Saudi Arabia on training includes courses, advice and guidance. This supports the efforts of Saudi Arabia to protect national and regional security, as well as its military’s compliance with international humanitarian law. The UK is not a member of the Saudi-led coalition and we played no role in setting Saudi-led coalition policy.