Evidence to House of Commons Committee on Arms Export Controls published

Rob Dover and Mark Phythian have had their evidence to the House of Commons Committee on Arms Exports Controls published.

Prof Mark PhythianThe Committee’s inquiry sought to examine the size of arms sales to the Gulf region and to ask questions about the role the trade plays in advancing UK interests there. It will also looked at whether weapons manufactured in the UK have been used by the Royal Saudi Armed Forces in Yemen, if any arms export licence criteria have been infringed.

Dr Dover and Prof Phythian argued in their evidence that Dr Robert Doverthe UK defence industries were increasingly dependent on trade with the Gulf region and that this was having the effect of skewing government policy towards a predisposition to export even when it is not clear that the export criteria has been met. They further argued that the strategic importance of the Gulf to UK national interests, including intelligence interests, has caused the government to take a very pragmatic approach to allowing the export of sophisticated weaponry to a volatile region.

Finally, Dr Dover and Prof Phythian made the case for adopting some of the Blackett principles, which would have the effect of opening up export licensing to expert open source challenge, although they were sceptical about whether the government has many incentives for doing so.

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