, , ,

City MP backs call to halt exports of riot control equipment to US amid Black Lives Matter protests

Stephen Morgan MP has demanded the urgent suspension of exports of riot equipment to the United States amid protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd by police.

According to the government’s latest Strategic Export Controls: Country Pivot report, the UK has recently issued licences for the export of a variety of riot control projectiles and equipment to the United States, including anti-riot/ballistic shields, anti-riot guns, components for anti-riot guns, portable riot control electric shock devices, and tear gas/riot control agents.

Mr Morgan has joined calls for making a stand following Donald Trump’s statement yesterday and hearing from constituents concerned over the escalation of issues in the US.

Stephen Morgan MP said:

“In cities across America we have seen law enforcement authorities using excessive force in response to these protests, including against children and members of the media. I know that this has shocked many not just here in Portsmouth, but across the world.  

It has been the policy of successive governments over the past two decades to refuse licences for the export of arms and equipment that might be used for internal repression. It is vital that licences are refused in this instance to preserve the safety of Black Lives Matter protestors.

The fact we have an alliance with the United States only enhances the need for us to take urgent action. The Anglo-American relationship is built on the values we share.

The British public deserves to know what is exported by this country and how they are being used across the world. The American people deserve the right to protest peacefully without the threat of violent repression.

The UK government must now act immediately if there is any chance that this riot equipment could be used against peaceful, unarmed civilians.”

In a letter demanding the suspension of exports of riot control equipment to the United States, Emily Thornberry, Shadow International Trade Secretary, added:

“At a time when Donald Trump is gearing up to use the US military to crush the legitimate protests taking place across America over the murder of Black civilians, it would be a disgrace for the UK to supply him with the arms and equipment he will use to do so.

If there is a risk that any of these riot control projectiles and equipment are being used in the United States against peaceful, unarmed civilians, then the government must act immediately to stop their export.”

The Portsmouth South MP has backed calls to take two urgent actions.

Firstly, to publish a comprehensive list of all current export licences to the USA of riot control equipment, along with all available end-user data, to clarify who has purchased items and for purpose within the last five years. Secondly, to suspend all existing licences and halt the issue of any new licences for the export of riot control projectiles and equipment to the United States until you have determined whether any of these items are being used in response to the ongoing protests.