PMQs summary (26 Jun, 2019)
PMQs today focused on the ethics of UK’s arms trade with Saudi Arabia during the Yemen conflict.
Corbyn accused the government of immoral conduct in its assisting of Saudi Arabia’s war effort through arms sales and licenses. He regarded this as particularly immoral in light of the claims that the Saudi military is violating human rights.
The opposition leader further suggested that Britain should follow the example of Germany and Denmark, who have banned arms exports to the Saudi government.
In response, the prime minister said that the UK is taking its responsibilities in this area seriously and looks closely on a case-by-case basis at the ethical implications of its arms sales.
She also claimed that Corbyn was taking the “wrong side” by allying with rebels who are trying to overthrow what she described as a legitimate and internationally recognised government.
The solution, as far as Theresa May is concerned, is a peaceful political settlement in the region, a solution toward which the UK government has provided £170 million since hostilities broke out.
Corbyn also raised other, more domestic, human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia, including the alleged state-sanctioned murder of a journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, who criticised the Saudi government. Theresa May said the appropriate recourse in such cases consists in already established international conventions, and that it is through these channels that Britain is encouraging the Saudis to take their human rights obligations more seriously. She ended the session by claiming that Corbyn’s siding with internationally unrecognised rebels is characteristic of his approach to international politics, adding that when there are crises of this kind, “he never backs Britain.” To see what happened in the remainder of the session, see our live Twitter thread coverage.