I want ac­tion on UK arms sales to Saudi Ara­bia

Rutherglen Reformer - - Bereavement -

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

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