Theresa May defends Britain’s relationship with Saudi Arabia

Theresa May has defended the UK’s links with Saudi Arabia as she visits the country. The Prime Minister told Sky News she has no difficulty in raising the allegations of human rights violations but she is also determined to have a relationship that allows the British government to do that.

We will be talking about the very important relationship the UK has with Saudi Arabia - an important relationship, yes, in terms of trade but also in terms of security. Our cooperation and Saudi’s cooperation with us has helped to save lives in the UK.

Theresa May

Rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have been among organisations calling for an end to arms sales from Britain and the United States to Saudi Arabia over the coalition’s actions in Yemen. Asked if May would be raising the issue of Yemen during the visit, her spokesman said it was “not on the agenda”. When asked whether she was downplaying human rights as Britain prepares for Brexit, amid the need to forge new relationships with potential trading partners, she added: “There is a strong British tradition of standing up for human rights there.