As May fawns over Riyadh regime, Tory MEPs vote against EU arms embargo on Saudi Arabia

Tory MEPs voted today against calls for an EU arms embargo against Saudi Arabia – the day after Theresa May’s visit to Riyadh, during which she reaffirmed the UK government’s political and military backing for the regime.

Clare Moody MEP, vice chair of the European Parliament security and defence committee, said:

“Today we have once again seen the true face of Theresa May’s Tory Party. Not only have Tory MEPs voted against an arms embargo, but under May the UK government is continuing to sell weapons to the Saudi regime – weapons that are being used in violation of international humanitarian law.

“I was astounded to see the Conservatives voting with the likes of UKIP and the Front National in this motion to continue selling arms to Saudi Arabia, particularly as even our bumbling foreign secretary has called it the ‘world’s worst humanitarian crisis’.

“Since the Saudi-led bombing campaign began three years ago, Britain has licensed more than £4.6bn-worth of fighter jets, bombs and missiles to Saudi forces, including Eurofighter Typhoon jets, central to the bombardment, and Paveway IV bombs, which are being deployed by UK-trained pilots.

“It cannot be right that whilst the UK provides aid with the aim of alleviating the crisis in Yemen, it continues to sell arms to the Saudi regime.

“The UN has declared the situation in Yemen the ‘largest food security emergency in the world’; seven million people face a ‘food security emergency’; 2.2 million children are suffering from severe acute malnourishment; a child dies of preventable causes every ten minutes; and there have been nearly 895,000 suspected cases of cholera – more than half of them children.”

Clare Moody MEP added:

“We’ve seen it with Liam Fox’s cosying up to populists such as Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines earlier this year, and we’re seeing it again this week in the Gulf – in their desperation to secure trade deals to mitigate the disastrous economic reality of a Tory Hard Brexit, the government is wilfully turning a blind eye to human rights abuses in exchange for a bit of spare trade.”