A few people have written to me about the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia.

The UK has been consistently clear with all sides to the conflict in Yemen about the importance of compliance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law. The Government is clear that a political solution remains the best way to bring long-term stability to Yemen.

I am informed that the UK operates one of the most rigorous and transparent export control regimes in the world. All export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National arms export licensing Criteria, known as the consolidated Criteria. The UK draws on all available information, including reports from NGOs and our overseas network, and risks around human rights violations are a key part of this assessment. The UK Government does not export equipment where it assesses there is a clear risk that it might be used for internal repression, that it might provoke or prolong conflict within a country, or where it may be used aggressively against another country.

I am satisfied that the Government is not in breach of these international standards. Furthermore, I believe firmly that commercial relationships do not prevent us from speaking frankly to governments about issues of concern, such as human rights. Our close political and security relationships can help enhance our scope to positively influence governments helping to promote democratic reform and raise human rights standards.

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