HC Deb 28 June 1988 vol 136 c189
17. Miss Lestor

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has received seeking the withdrawal of invitations to attend the British Army equipment exhibition from 26 June to 1 July issued to any country with a record of human rights abuses.

Mr. Sainsbury

A number of representations have been received.

Miss Lestor

Is it not a fact that over 10,000 letters and a very large petition have already been sent complaining bitterly about the fact that one third of the countries that were at the 1986 exhibition were on Amnesty International's torture list, and that the weapons that they can buy can be used for internal repression and torture? Is it not about time that this vile trade was cleared up and the Government had some mechanism to prevent those people from attending?

Mr. Sainsbury

May I point out to the hon. Lady that it is individuals rather than companies that are asked. I assume from the wording of her question that the hon. Lady is entirely against trade in armaments. May I remind her that the successful sale of arms overseas by the British defence industry supports 100,000 jobs?