UK Labour MP Fabian Hamilton has called for a public inquiry into why ministers have been allowed to disregard evidence that Saudi Arabia was violating international humanitarian law in order to continue lucrative arms deals with the kingdom.
In a tweet that includes a link to a video of a speech given by Hamilton in the Houses of Parliament, the MP for Leeds North East said that “the UK has been on the wrong side of the law for allowing arms exports to Saudi Arabia to continue.”
Hamilton reiterated his party’s position saying: “Labour is calling for a full public inquiry to find out why Ministers have been allowed to disregard evidence that Saudi Arabia were violating international humanitarian law.”
In the video Hamilton expresses outrage over continued arms sale to Riyadh despite international concerns that Saudi has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in its war in Yemen. Hamilton cited a report by the Lords International Relations Committee which concluded in February that the “UK was on the wrong side of the law by allowing arms to be sold in Yemen.” The damning conclusion, Hamilton pointed out, was given before the Supreme Court judgement that UK arms exports to Saudi was unlawful.
Hamilton also reiterated Labour’s position on the issue. He said that the Shadow Foreign Secretary had described Conservative ministers of wilfully disregarding the evidence that Saudi Arabia was violating international humanitarian law in Yemen by allowing the UK to continue supplying weapons to Riyadh.
The UK government has justified UK arms exports to Saudi saying that it had assurances from the kingdom. Hamilton dismissed this saying: “Relying on assurances by Saudi Arabia was not an adequate way of implementing a risk based assessment set out in the arms trade treaty.”