I want action on UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia
As the EU referendum approaches, I am reminded of how fortunate we are to be able to conduct it in an open and democratic manner.
Although both the official Leave and Remain campaigns have been uninspiring at best, we are nonetheless being given an opportunity to exercise our democratic rights – something regrettably denied to many people around the world.
Last week I led an important debate at Westminster on human rights and arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
I was very fortunate to secure this debate, and am grateful to all of the other MPs, from all parties, who took part.
I used the opportunity to raise several human rights cases in Saudi Arabia.
A theme runs through each of these – that of political oppression.
Many people are imprisoned purely for disagreeing with Saudi authorities.
The domestic human rights record of Saudi Arabia is poor – something which sharply came into international focus when they executed 47 people on the same day at the start of the year.
Saudi is our biggest arms trading partner – we sell several billion pounds worth of weapons to them each year.
It concerns me greatly that the UK Government seem happy to ignore the human rights record of the Kingdom.
Just as worrying is the record of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, where there are reports from the UN and other organisations of serious breaches of international humanitarian law from all parties engaged in combat.
The discovery of UK-produced cluster bombs in Northern Yemen is particularly concerning, and I’m calling on the UK Government to halt the sale of arms, and lead an investigation into the ongoing war.
Those who follow my Parliamentary activity will know that this is a matter I have pursued for quite some time, and will continue to pressure the government into action over.
Back in the constituency, I’ve had other pressing matters to attend to.
My constituency office has been incredibly busy with new cases from constituents – particularly with regards to benefits and immigration.
There are clearly some key failings with the UK-wide systems in place, and my office has been working tirelessly to fix problems constituents are experiencing.
I’ve also had the opportunity to indulge in one of the more enjoyable aspects of the job – summer gala days.
Landemer Day in Rutherglen was a huge success at the weekend. I always enjoy getting out and about to chat with constituents, and I certainly got a chance to speak with plenty of you there.
I truly admire the diligence and dedication of the Landemer Day organising committee.
It is no mean feat to pull all of this together, and they do a fantastic job, year-in, year out.
I’m looking forward to Cambuslang Summerfest this Saturday, and hope that we get some of the recent sunshine.
With a run of bad weather in recent years, Summerfest is certainly due a sunny day! Hopefully I get chance to meet and speak with more of you there.
Many people are imprisoned purely for disagreeing with Saudi authorities
Concern Margaret Ferrier MP helped deliver a petition of 21,000 signatures to Downing Street, calling for David Cameron to end arms sales to the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in Yemen