Saudi deal a ‘mockery’ of aid say critics

Written By: Chris McLaughlin
Published: March 11, 2018 Last modified: March 11, 2018

A controversial arms deal between Britain and Saudi Arabia has been branded a “national disgrace” by human rights campaigners and Labour MPs.

The £100 million deal includes the price of 48 military-use jets such as the Typhoon Eurofighter (pictured) and was signed at the end of a three-day visit to London by the ruling Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, during which he met Theresa May and other ministers, the Queen and Prince Charles.

The Government described the arrangement, which was officially presented as an unprecedented aid deal, as “a new long-term partnership”. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn condemned the visit before the deal was announced. The Crown Prince is seen as responsible for the deaths of thousands of Yemeni civilians in an intervention in a civil war and for human rights abuses at home and abroad.

Shadow international development secretary Kate Osamor said the agreement “made a mockery” of Britain’s reputation on aid.

“Theresa May implied she would lobby bin Salman to stop bombing civilians and end the use of starvation as a weapon of war. Instead, she has won no concessions and simply handed on a plate to Saudi Arabia a new humanitarian partnership. It will whitewash Saudi Arabia’s reputation and role in the war and is a national disgrace.”

Downing Street defended the deal, saying that it involved £65 million in trade for the UK.

About Chris McLaughlin

Chris McLaughlin is Editor of Tribune