Saudi Arabia: Arms Export Licences - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 12:11 pm on 26th September 2019.

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Photo of The Earl of Courtown The Earl of Courtown Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords) 12:11 pm, 26th September 2019

I thank the noble Baroness for her question. I was aware of the report from the committee on this issue. As I said earlier, we are confident that the UK export controls provide a robust means of assessing human rights concerns. Human rights are a core consideration in assessing export licence applications, and we will not now grant that licence as that would be inconsistent with the licensing criteria. These criteria require us to think very hard about the implications of human rights on granting licences.

Perhaps I should just repeat briefly that the interim procedures put in place mean that, on future licences, senior officials in DIT, FCO and the MoD are guaranteeing the latest information available to Government is used in this advice. All recommendations to grant licences for the export of items to Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners will now have to be signed off by Ministers, as opposed to at official level.