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The SNP’s Spokesperson for International Development and Climate Justice has called for a full explanation from the Foreign Secretary over ongoing arms sales to Saudi Arabia, following a damning ruling by the UK’s court of appeal that the sales were unlawful.

At a Parliamentary session of Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Questions, Chris Law MP raised both the court of appeal’s decision and a report from the House of Lords as evidence that the UK Government was “on the wrong side of the law”. The court of appeal found that UK Government Ministers had failed to properly assess the contribution of arms from the UK to civilian casualties in the conflict.

Mr Law also pressed the UK Government over their commitment to the rules-based international order, given their continued refusal to end sales to Saudi Arabia.

It is estimated by some sources that almost 100,000 people have died in Yemen since civil war broke out in 2015. The Saudi coalition, which supports the existing regime, is thought to have killed hundreds if not thousands of innocent civilians through its use of indiscriminate air strikes. 

The UK Government’s Minister of State for Europe and the Americas Sir Alan Duncan MP denied that the sale of arms had been unlawful, and insisted that the UK Government was committed to maintaining the highest standards when it came to exporting arms.

Chris Law, SNP Spokesperson for International Development and Climate Justice, said:

“Last year, I raised concerns in the chamber that one in three targetted bombings in Yemen were against civilian targets. It is frankly shocking to now discover that the UK Government hadn’t properly assessed the contribution of UK-originated arms to these bombings.

“The UK Government must urgently rule out further sale of arms, or risk its international reputation as a proponent of human rights and of the rules-based international order.”

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