Monday, November 17, 2014

Piety And Profit

The government used to restrict the sale of arms to countries with poor human rights records, but former Tory defence minister Sir John Stanley, who chairs the Commons committees on arms export controls, says this is no longer the case. "He said in a recent parliamentary debate that the government has not acknowledged that such a change has taken place, and it "should consider most carefully whether they should now offer an apology to the committees". The government used to reject arms export licences where there was concern they might be used for "internal repression", but now a licence will be refused only if there is a "clear risk" that military equipment might be used in violation of international law." (Observer, 9 November) Why has there been this change in policy? One consideration may well be that sales have already hit £60m this year. RD

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