Arms Trade: Saudi Arabia

Department for International Trade written question – answered on 3rd August 2020.

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Photo of Lord Roberts of Llandudno Lord Roberts of Llandudno Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government why they decided to resume granting export licences for the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia.

Photo of Lord Grimstone of Boscobel Lord Grimstone of Boscobel The Minister of State, Department for International Trade, The Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

The Written Ministerial Statement (WMS) of 7th July 2020 set out details of the revised methodology developed to comply with the Court of Appeal’s judgment of 20th June 2019 and applied to re-take the decisions remitted by the Court of Appeal on the correct legal basis.

It also set out why my Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade assessed that there is not a clear risk that the export of arms and military equipment to Saudi Arabia might be used in the commission of a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law.

Having now re-taken the decisions that were the subject of judicial review on the correct legal basis, as required by the Order of the Court of Appeal of 20th June 2019, it follows that the undertaking given to the Court – that we would not grant any new licences for the export of arms or military equipment to Saudi Arabia for possible use in Yemen – falls away. The broader commitment that was given to Parliament, relating to licences for Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners, also no longer applies.

Decisions on export licence applications for Saudi Arabia and its Coalition partners for possible use in the conflict in Yemen can now be taken. All export licence applications will be assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria.

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