David Martin MEP

Labour Member of the European Parliament and one of the six MEPs representing Scotland in Brussels and Strasbourg

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David Martin MEP: “UK must not subvert stronger EU controls on export of surveillance tech to repressive regimes”

The European Parliament voted today on new EU export controls that will cover “dual use” goods and technologies that may have both civilian and military use.

Scottish MEP David Martin, member of the Parliament’s international trade committee and Labour’s spokesperson on the legislation, said:

“It is vital now that post-Brexit, the UK government not only continues to abide by the Wassenaar Arrangement that governs trade in goods with military and civilian applications, but also upholds this new reformed system of export control for cyber-tech items which could potentially be sold to repressive regimes.

“Today’s vote demonstrates that the EU is continuing to put human rights at the heart of its trade strategy, and will not blindly trade with the world’s worst regimes and enable them to harass, imprison, torture and kill innocent civilians. The message from the UK Tory government appears to be the opposite: take the authoritarians’ shilling and look the other way.

“The UK must not sink to the moral bottom, selling surveillance tools to anyone and everyone, including regimes that routinely violate human rights to spy on their own citizens, suppress civilians, political opposition and activists around the world.”

Earlier this week, it was revealed that Britain has dramatically increased the value of weaponry and defence equipment it sells to the world’s most repressive regimes since the referendum. The UK government cleared export licences worth £2.9bn in the 12 months after June 2016 to 35 countries considered “not free” – a 28 per cent increase on the 12 months before the Brexit vote.

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