UK

BBC Election Debate 2017: Amber Rudd Suggests Saudi Arabia Arms Sales 'Good For Industry'

Amid tough questions from the Greens and Ukip.

31/05/2017 21:03 BST | Updated 31/05/2017 22:52 BST

Amber Rudd has suggested arms sales to Saudi Arabia are good for British industry.

The Tory Home Secretary said during the live BBC Debate in Cambridge on Wednesday that Saudi Arabia “has the right” to purchase weapons.

Amid questions about the arms deal from both Green Party leader Caroline Lucas and Ukip leader Paul Nuttall, Rudd said: “I will make no apology for being a government that wants to defend this country.

“We will make sure that our defence budget is well-funded and we will do that by having a strong economy and make sure we can do that by having a strong industry.” 

“Saudi has the right,” she added.

Watch the clip, above.

Many viewers vented their outrage at Rudd’s apparent defence on social media.

Last year, a parliamentary committee said it was likely that British weapons had been used to violate international law by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition engaged in conflict with rebels in Yemen.

In response to questions on the matter, Prime Minister Theresa May said in September that she had called on the autocracy to investigate the allegations.

However, MPs later said they had not actively seen evidence of war crimes.

The UK Government signed off £3.3bn worth of arms exports in the first year of the country’s bombardment of Yemen, which began in 2015.

The Yemeni conflict has killed 10,000, many of them civilians, and displaced three million more, according to the UN.