• Arms Exports to Saudi Arabia

    17 October 2019

    Dear Constituent,

    Thank you for contacting me about arms exports to Saudi Arabia.

    The Government takes its defence export responsibilities extremely seriously and operates one of the most robust export control regimes in the world. All export licence applications, including those for Saudi Arabia are rigorously assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. 

    These strict criteria take account of prevailing circumstances at the time of application and includes human rights and international humanitarian law considerations. The Government will not issue export licences where there is a clear risk that the goods might be used for internal repression, in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law, or where the export would provoke or prolong conflict.

    The Court of Appeal has overturned a High Court judgment that arms export licences granted to Saudi Arabia were lawful, a decision which the Government does not agree with and is seeking to appeal. Without prejudice to this, work is underway on the process of retaking licensing decisions in accordance with the Order of the Court of Appeal. Moreover, while Ministers consider the implications of this judgment, no new licences for arms exports will be granted to Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners that might be used in the conflict in Yemen. It is important to note the judgment was not about whether the Government has made the right or wrong decisions about granting exports licences, but about the process used to reach decisions.

    Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

    Yours sincerely,

    Mel Stride MP

    MP for Central Devon