Fylde MP urges ministers to work with allies to bring about peace in Middle East

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FYLDE MP Mark Menzies has urged ministers to encourage the UK’s allies in Saudi Arabia to help bring about peace in the Middle East.

The Member of Parliament was speaking after Tobias Ellwood, Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, made a statement to the House of Commons on the relationship between the UK and Saudi Arabian governments on Tuesday.

In response to the statement, Mr Menzies highlighted the welcome BAE Systems has received in the kingdom, as large numbers of workers from Fylde have relocated to Saudi Arabia to carry out work related to the Warton-built Typhoon jet.

He said: “As someone who has visited the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and who perhaps has more constituents working in the kingdom than any other Member in this House as a result of the relationship through the defence sector, may I urge the Minister to impress on our Saudi friends the importance of working with the moderate influences within the kingdom to ensure that peace and stability prevail throughout the region?”

Mr Ellwood replied: “My hon. Friend rightly underlines the importance of this bilateral relationship, which is not only commercial but includes academic and medical perspectives and so forth.

“The more we are able to engage and share ideas, the more we will be able to encourage change, modernisation and adaptation of international standards and the rule of law.”

Following the session, Mr Menzies said he was pleased the minister had highlighted the importance of Britain’s influence with other nations to promote global stability.

He added: “As a British Member of Parliament, it is always pleasing to see the high regard with which our views and actions are seen within the international community.

“The close relationship we have with Saudi Arabia not only brings economic and cultural benefits but has helped foil terrorist plots and protected British interests in the region.

“Our views can never be completely aligned while there are significant human rights concerns in the kingdom. However, the relationship we have means we can raise those concerns and secure commitments we may not otherwise get to help improve the situation.”

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