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Thursday 16 June 2011


Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Arms Exports

The Petition of residents of Wirksworth and the Derbyshire Dales,

Declares that the petitioners strongly oppose the current sale of UK arms to any country currently engaged in conflict, or any country known to be a repressive regime which pays scant regard to human rights; and further declares that the petitioners believe that the hurried revocation of UK export licences for arms and crowd control equipment which had been freely sold to Libya makes their point all too vividly.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to take all possible steps to prevent the further sale of UK arms and riot control equipment to any country engaged in conflict or with a record of human rights abuse.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented on 16 March 2011, Official Report , Vol. 525, c. 4P.]


Observations from the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs:

The Government take their arms export responsibilities very seriously. Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms are mandatory considerations for the assessment of all export licence applications. We do not export equipment where there is a clear risk it might be used for internal repression.

The UK operates one of the most robust and transparent arms exports control systems in the world. All applications for the export of controlled military goods are assessed, on a case-by-case basis, against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. This criteria includes the vital provision to revoke licences in the light of changing, unexpected circumstances.

In response to events in the middle east and north Africa, I have commissioned a review of Government policy and practice with regard to the export of equipment

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that might be used for internal repression, in particular crowd control goods. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is leading this internal review in close consultation with the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Ministry of Defence (MoD). The Government will be reporting back on the review to Parliament as soon as practicable.


Parking Restrictions (Ablewell Street, Walsall)

The Petition of the business owners and customers of Ablewell Street, Walsall,

Declares that the Petitioners are opposed to the parking restrictions on Ablewell Street.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to take all possible steps to encourage Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council to allow a parking amnesty of at least 30 minutes.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Valerie Vaz , Official Report, 24 May 2011; Vol. 528, c. 891.]


Observations from the Secretary of State for Transport:

The responsibility for parking restrictions rests with the relevant local authority and it is for them to decide on appropriate policies that balance the needs of local residents, emergency services, local businesses, and those who work in and visit the area.

Local authorities have a crucial role to play in relieving congestion and improving road safety and the environment.

Where problems occur, the Government look to local authorities to use their traffic management powers to address these issues which may include the introduction of parking restrictions to balance the supply and demand for road space in the light of local needs and circumstances.

Where local authorities have obtained civil parking enforcement (CPE) powers under the Traffic Management Act (TMA) 2004, they can enforce their own parking policies. The Government recommend that all local authorities take on CPE powers so that the police may concentrate on the more serious priorities.

The Government do not intervene in local parking matters as to do so would contradict the coalition Government’s policy to promote localism.