Campaigns. It is important that I continue to know the strength of feeling on an issue and I prefer to respond to every inquiry, but the sheer size of campaign correspondence means that it is hard to justify to the tax payer the cost and time taken for individual written replies, so regrettably I will no longer reply to every item of campaign correspondence.  I will  post a response to the campaign on the "Responses to campaigns" page of my website.

I am sorry to do this, as it is rather impersonal, but can see no other way of maintaining a good service for all my constituents unless I approach campaigns this way.

30 MAR 2017

Yemen Arms

Thank you very much for taking the time to email me.

I read your comments with interest and understand you are deeply concerned about the situation in Yemen. I particularly have concerns about the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia by the UK and the use of those arms against their own citizens as well as their conflict with Yemen. It is often said that government can go further in applying pressure for genuine reform by cooperating with the Saudi regime but the extent of human rights abuses in the Kingdom calls for a far stronger approach and an end arms sales.

I hope the following information on this topic from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is of interest:

The UK supports the Saudi-led campaign to restore the legitimate Government in Yemen. This is a campaign that has the backing of the legitimate President of Yemen, as well as the United Nations. Ultimately, a political solution is the best way to bring long-term stability to Yemen and end the conflict. We need to build resilience and protect key institutions to help lay the foundations for post-conflict recovery.
The Government is working in Yemen to address the urgent humanitarian needs and support an effective international humanitarian response. Ministers have more than doubled our humanitarian funding to Yemen over the last year, making the UK the fourth largest donor to the humanitarian crisis. We are providing vital medical supplies, water, food and nutrition, and emergency shelter to those most in need and have so far supported more than 1.3 million Yemenis
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 UK operates one of the most rigorous and transparent export control regimes in the world, and all export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis.
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.
The Government has the power to suspend or revoke any export licence should it consider that this is a necessary and appropriate step.

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