Vince Cable blocks sale of military and intelligence equipment to Egypt as protest death toll mounts

Five export licences suspended over fears weapons are being used for internal suppression against its people

Five arms export licences to Egypt have been revoked by Britain following continuing violent clashes in the country involving the military in which dozens have been killed.

Business Secretary Vince Cable announced the move after consultations with the Foreign Office and a review of the licences following the violence which erupted after the deposing of the Muslim Brotherhood president, Mohamed Morsi, by the army.

Earlier this week a highly critical report by the Committee on Arms Export Controls revealed details of military and intelligence equipment being sent under licences granted by the UK government to countries with a record of human-rights abuse.

The Committee’s chairman, Sir John Stanley, had written to William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, asking if he was satisfied that the licences did not contravene the Government’s policy on not allowing arms exports which might be used for internal repression.

The Department for Business, Skills and Innovation said that the equipment covered by the five licences had all been destined for the army or the police. It included components for armoured personnel carriers, radio communications equipment, machine gun components, components for tracked armoured fighting infantry vehicles, and communications equipment for tanks.

There were 134 licences for strategically controlled items to Egypt worth more than £59m. Following yesterday’s suspensions, licences still remain valid for assault rifles, pistols, cryptographic equipment and command communications control and intelligence software.

Mr Cable said yesterday: “We are deeply concerned about the situation in Egypt and the events which have led to the deaths of protesters.

“All licences for exports of controlled goods to Egypt  have been assessed on a case-by-case basis against a range of internationally agreed, stringent criteria which take into account the circumstances at the time the licence application was made.

“However, as a result of the changing situation in Egypt, we have conducted a review of UK export licences to this country.”

Still, the bulk of the weapons delivered to the Egyptian military comes from the US, and that has continued with Barack Obama avoiding calling the overthrow of Mr Morsi a coup– the act by the military which would force the President to turn off supplies.

Although the British Government has remained overtly neutral in the current Egyptian crisis, the view among senior diplomats is that the army was forced to act because Mr Morsi was riding roughshod over the opposition in implementing an Islamist agenda, and his handling of the economy had brought it close to collapse.

Kaye Stearman, of the Campaign Against Arms Trade, welcomed the revoking of the licences, but added: “We need to know why the other licences for military equipment still remain in use. Britain has not got a huge market in Egypt, so the export imperative can’t be too great.

“We believe every licence should be scrutinised and the delivery of arms halted while the unrest continues.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years - but he says it wasn’t all fun and games...
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
Arts and Entertainment
Inner sanctum: Tove Jansson and friends in her studio in 1992
booksWhat was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Singer songwriter Bob Dylan performs on stage
films
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Lawyer - Cheshire

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CHESHIRE MARKET TOWN - An exciting and rare o...

Austen Lloyd: Residential Property Solicitor - Hampshire

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE - SENIOR POSITION - An exciti...

Recruitment Genius: Gas Installation Engineer

£29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Engineer is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor

£28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor is req...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital