[Mr David Amess in the Chair] — Arms Sales (Human Rights)

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 2:22 pm on 17th September 2015.

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Photo of Tom Brake Tom Brake Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Foreign Affairs), Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, Liberal Democrat Shadow Leader of the House of Commons 2:22 pm, 17th September 2015

I congratulate Ann Clwyd on securing this debate. Since my time on the all-party group on human rights, I know how assiduous she has been in pursuing these issues. Her dedication to the cause is probably only matched by that of my friend in the House of Lords, Lord Avebury, who is equally assiduous in following such matters.

It is clear that the arms trade and human rights is an issue that concerns many of our constituents. I am sure that all Members here today will have been on the receiving end of a campaign email, which rightly highlights concerns around the defence and security equipment in the arms show that is being held in London at present. That campaign email focuses on two particular matters: Egypt and Israel. In relation to Egypt, it is regrettable that the UK Government are rolling out the red carpet for el-Sisi when he comes to visit. I think that that is a mistake. I hope that the Minister will be able to explain why such a decision was taken.

In relation to Israel, Members will know that last year my right hon. Friend Mr Clegg, who was then Deputy Prime Minister, said that if Israeli forces go back into Gaza and use disproportionate force, the UK Government should take action. What is the new Government’s position in that respect?

Also, what is the UK Government’s explanation for allowing arms sales to countries that are on the FCO list of countries about which it has human rights concerns? Many of the countries that we have talked about in this debate are on that list. There may be different versions, but one suggests that North Korea and Zimbabwe might be on that list. I hope that that is not the case but, if it is, what weapons and security equipment might we be exporting to those two countries?