Vince Cable's claims of oversight of potential targets in Saudi/Yemen conflict

Iain Overton made this Freedom of Information request to Ministry of Defence

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was refused by Ministry of Defence.

Dear Ministry of Defence,

The former business secretary Vince Cable has told the Guardian Newspaper that he was given specific assurances by your ministry about oversight of potential targets in the use of weapons by the Saudis in the Yemen conflict.

He says he was told by the MOD that the UK would enhance its oversight to the level given by the Saudis to the US – which would include involvement in decisions about what was being bombed. It was on this basis, Cable says, that he agreed to sign licences for a consignment of laser-guided Paveway IV missiles, which he had blocked amid concerns about civilian deaths.

In line with this can you please answer the following:

1. did the MOD give Vince Cable the assurance he was seeking regarding oversight of potential targets by the Suadis?
2. does the MOD have any military personnel or know of any other UK agent (MI6 etc.) who is in the “targeting chain”
3. can you please provide me with details of what assurances the UK governments seeks from the Saudis regarding the use of any weapons sold to them to ensure that civilians are not unduly impacted by this weapon sale.
4. can you please provide me of any evidence that supports the enforcement of point 3. (i.e if assurances are given by the Saudis, how does the UK know that they are not simply lying)

Yours faithfully,

Iain Overton

Ops Dir-parlibusiness (MULTIUSER),

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Overton,


Please find a letter relating to the above referenced FOI request


Kind regards,


MOD Operations Directorate