The Gulf — [Mr David Nuttall in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:37 am on 4th May 2016.

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Photo of Diana R. Johnson Diana R. Johnson Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) 10:37 am, 4th May 2016

I will continue, because I want to make these points. Again, the Government have been slow to engage with those allegations. First, they seemed to back an independent inquiry, and then they supported the Saudis’ own investigation, but now they are calling for the inquiry to be speeded up. The Opposition remain convinced that the Saudi investigation will not be sufficiently independent or transparent, and we think it is right to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia while the investigations are conducted.

The second state is Bahrain. Although the pace of reforms in Bahrain is greater than in Saudi Arabia, there are still serious concerns about the position of opposition and civil society groups, the detention of political prisoners and the use of torture in the justice system. The reforms introduced by the Bahraini Government, although highly welcome, have not been fully implemented, and both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have raised concerns about the situation. As my hon. Friend the Member for Hammersmith said, the UK Government have been working with the Bahraini Government on those reforms, so we should be prepared to recognise where the reforms have not been fully implemented and to publicly push the Bahrainis to go further.