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Chinese Armed Forces Training

Volume 727: debated on Monday 30 January 2023

13. What steps he is taking to prevent former UK armed forces personnel from providing training to the Chinese armed forces. (903342)

The National Security Bill contains provisions that will help in prosecuting those who use their knowledge and expertise to train foreign militaries prejudicial to the interests of the UK. In the meantime, while the Bill passes through this House and the other place, we have issued guidance to all defence personnel at risk, and reminded personnel of their obligations to protect sensitive information. That has led to improved reporting of suspicious activity.

I thank the Secretary of State for that helpful response. Qualified RAF pilots are quitting for better paid jobs that involve training the air forces of other countries, and fixed-wing aircraft have dropped by nearly a quarter since 2017. We learned last week that all the RAF’s Hawk jet trainer aircraft have been grounded because of an engine issue. Given that the Government will be in the High Court tomorrow in an effort to justify supplying arms for use in the war in Yemen, what does the Secretary of State have to say to MPs across the House who are concerned about the deployment of RAF personnel to Saudi Arabia in the last couple of months to train the Royal Saudi air force?

I have absolutely no problem with supporting our friend and ally in the region, Saudi Arabia. We have done it for decades, and will continue to do so.