Jo Swinson calls on Boris to stand up to Saudi ruler

Back in the day, Vince Cable, then acting leader, famously  boycotted the state visit of the Saudi King 

At the time, he said that

I think it’s quite wrong that as a country we should give the leader of Saudi Arabia this honour.”

He said that although Britain has a “business-like” relationship with the country, Britain would not dream of extending the same invitation to other controversial leaders like Libya’s Colonel Gadaffi..

Eleven years on, the party is still calling out the appalling human rights record of the Saudi Government. Jo Swinson today lambasted Boris on the eve of the visit of the ruling Saudi Prince. She said:

Boris Johnson has repeatedly failed to stand up to Saudi rulers on their role in the ruthless and illegal targeting by Saudi forces of civilians and civilian infrastructure in Yemen, as well as the impact of their cold war with Iran on the entire region.

Instead of using this visit to woo Mohammed bin Salman into buying more weapons, the Foreign Secretary should make it clear that any ally of the UK must make more than shallow reforms to convince us of their commitment to human rights and international humanitarian law.

Failure to do so will serve as confirmation that this government will prioritise trade above values, and is a dark sign of things to come if the UK leaves the EU.

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6 Comments

  • Lorenzo Cherin 6th Mar '18 - 10:49pm

    Someone heard me, I want more of this from Jo Swinson and all our spokespeople, terrific!

    When Sir Vince did not indulge the Saudi leader years ago, like his Mr Bean comment, peak Cable.

    We now continue not at peak but along the road of calling for human rights and out against inhumane wrongs.

    The sale of arms in many ways like other warped activities such as the American gun trade and ownership, needs parties like ours and spokespeople to do what is morally necessary and correct.

  • Attacking the Saudis reaks of racism and Islamaphobia. The Saudis are our allies and have done much to protect Britain from terror by sharing information. Saudi Arabia is in the process of modernisation and in the next 50 – 100 years will likely be a liberal country. We should be standing together with our partners in Saudi Arabia and looking at ensuring Saudis can freely work, invest and move to Britain without any hurdles or discrimination. A trade deal with Saudi Arabia that includes freedom of movement and strong investor protection would be a huge boon to us.

  • Stimpson, one word on your post…WRONG!

  • nvelope2003 7th Mar '18 - 9:40am

    Expats: Your sentiments might be correct but it will take more than a year to bring the 14th Century mind into the 21st century. Look where simplistic solutions got us in Libya, Egypt, Iran, Syria etc. Fancy a repeat ?

  • nvelope2003 7th Mar ’18 – 9:40am………Expats: Your sentiments might be correct but it will take more than a year to bring the 14th Century mind into the 21st century. Look where simplistic solutions got us in Libya, Egypt, Iran, Syria etc. Fancy a repeat ?…………..

    Where have I ever suggested an armed response to Saudi Arabia? I do wish straw men would stick to scaring crows..

    I will not document their internal repressions but, perhaps, when mentioning middle east conflict you might consider where the funds for ISIS, etc. come from? When the office of the US Secretary of State says, “We need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region.” we should worry..
    When we remember that Prince Bandar bin Sultan, said”The time is not far off in the Middle East when it will be literally ‘God help the Shia’, we should worry.
    When, closer to home, a “‘sensitive” Home Office document pointing the finger at Saudi Arabia’s funding of UK extremists is shelved, we should worry…

    Saudi is an extremist state whose major aim is to use it’s wealth to spread their brand of Islam by any means…Stimpson’s, and now, your defence of them as ‘friends and allies’ is, to say the least, misplaced…

  • nvelope2003 8th Mar '18 - 9:30am

    expats: more slogans – are those straw men still the fashionable way to close down debate ? where did I say anything about an armed response or support for Saudi Arabia ? I was merely pointing out what had happened when the West did intervene in the Middle East.

    I suspect most people on this site know where the money for extremist activity comes from, the problem is how can it be stopped without creating even more chaos in that region or reducing the Saudis to such extreme poverty that have no money for external activities.

    It is disturbing that the report you refer to has been shelved as being too sensitive or whatever. I do not think we should pander to extremist states or rely on trade with them but nor should they be isolated.

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