My Lords, with the leave of the House, I shall now repeat in the form of a Statement the Answer given earlier this morning in another place:
“Today I will be laying a Written Ministerial Statement updating Parliament on the latest situation in relation to the undertaking given to the Court of Appeal on
As I stated publicly on
The Export Control Joint Unit subsequently issued export licences to Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners and, in line with the agreed procedure, these were signed off at official rather than ministerial level. It subsequently came to light that two licences were in breach of the court undertaking and one licence was granted contrary to the Statement in Parliament, as these licences were for goods that could possibly be used in the conflict in Yemen.
Without seeking to prejudge the independent investigation, it appears that information pertaining to the conflict had not been fully shared across government. As soon as the issue was brought to my attention on
The court and Parliament were informed on
The full review of licences for Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners is currently being undertaken. This internal review is ongoing. As a result of this internal review, we have identified one further licence that has been granted in breach of the undertaking given to the Court of Appeal. The licence has not been used and has now been revoked.
My officials are also carrying out an urgent review of the composition of the coalition. This has identified a further licence which is in breach of the parliamentary Statement. We have reassessed this licence in light of the latest information and subsequently revoked it in so far as it applies to Jordan. My officials continue to review all information relating to licences granted to Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners since
In addition, the DIT Permanent Secretary has commissioned on my behalf a full independent investigation. This will establish the precise circumstances in which these licences were granted, establish whether any other licence has been granted in breach of the undertakings to the court or contrary to the parliamentary Statement and confirm that procedures are in place so that no further breaches of the undertaking can occur. This investigation will be led by an independent senior official, the director-general of policy group, in the Department for Work and Pensions. It is possible that more cases will come to light. As I have done so far, I will keep the court and Parliament informed as to any new information that emerges”.