Westminster and Whitehall
This page looks at Parliamentary and Government developments relevant to the arms trade.
Details of the Government Ministers with relevant responsibilities, as well as their Opposition counterparts, can be found here.
Each Government Department has a Select Committee monitoring its work. These multi-party committees of backbench MPs also hold inquiries into specific aspects of their Department's work. The Committees generally most relevant to the arms trade are the:
International Development Committee In July 2011 the Committee grilled BAE Systems' representatives over the company's failure to make the £29.5million payment to the p eople of Tanzania, promised as part of its plea bargain.
- the conflict between strongly promoting arms exports to authoritarian regimes while strongly criticising their lack of human rights;
- that repressive regimes to which UK governments authorised the supply of arms had not suddenly become authoritarian at the time of the Arab Spring;
- the nature of the UK relationship with Saudi Arabia, by far the largest arms buyer in the region, asking the government "whether it applies different or the same considerations in deciding whether or not to approve arms export licences to Saudi Arabia to those applied to other countries in the region and, if different, what those considerations are;
- how UKTI Defence & Security Organisation (UKTI DSO), the government's arms sales unit, determines its priority markets. CAEC has asked the Government to: "set out fully the reasons why Libya and Saudi Arabia remain within the UKTI DSO Priority Markets list for 2011/2012 when both countries are also listed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in its latest Human Rights and Democracy Annual Report as being Countries of Concern."
Early Day Motions
These are a kind of parliamentary petition which show the strength of feeling on an issue, and whether or not there is cross-party support. They are usually only signed by backbenchers. MPs can add their names to an EDM any time Parliament is sitting and the EDMs remain open for signature until the end of the parliamentary session, at the moment until May 2013.
Current EDMs relevant to CAAT's work are: