‘Don’t fund this bru­tal regime’

Con­tro­versy over Saudi in­vest­ment

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Steve Bax steve.bax@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

BORIS John­son is un­der pres­sure from Hilling­don Lib­eral Democrats to pull Lon­don money out of a Saudi Ara­bia bank.

Lo­cal ac­tivists are back­ing their party leader Tim Far­ron’s calls for the Mayor of Lon­don ( Mr John­son) to di­vest £100 mil­lion of Greater Lon­don As­sem­bly cash from Riyad bank, which is 51 per cent owned by the govern­ment of Saudi Ara­bia.

It fol­lows the ex­e­cu­tion of 47 peo­ple by the Saudis this month, in­clud­ing Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.

Mr Far­ron chal­lenged Boris to prom­ise to never in­vest pub­lic money in regimes with “such ter­ri­ble hu­man rights records”, adding that “words are not enough”.

And lo­cal Lib Dem spokesman, Charles Law­ley, who is one of Mr John­son’s par­lia­men­tary con­stituents in Uxbridge and South Ruis­lip, said he is giv­ing his full back­ing to the party leader’s calls.

“His­tory will not look favourably on the cur­rent Saudi regime and we do not want his­tory to find us help­ing fund their bru­tal regime,” he said. “The Saudi peo­ple face be­ing mur­dered by the state for so-called ‘crimes’ as mi­nor as peace­ful protest.

“But as long as Mr John­son keeps GLA money in­vested in banks part owned by the Saudi govern­ment, he is help­ing their bloody op­pres­sion.”

Mr Law­ley called on res­i­dents to write to the Mayor and urge him to put “peo­ple be­fore profit”.

A spokesper­son for the GLA said the au­thor­ity has a duty to en­sure its “short-term cash bal­ances are in­vested with an aim of min­imis­ing the risks of any loss to the tax­payer”.

The GLA added that in­vest­ments are made by of­fi­cers in the trea­sury team, “with­out political in­volve­ment” from the Mayor and tar­get “high­qual­ity and cred­it­wor­thy in­sti­tu­tions”.

n ‘PEO­PLE BE­FORE PROFIT’: Charles Law­ley, from Hilling­don Lib Dems

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