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Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski meets Saudi Crown Prince during state visit

By Mark Andrews | Shrewsbury | Politics | Published:

Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski met with Saudi Arabian crown prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss future co-operation between the two countries during the prince's controversial state visit to Britain.

Daniel Kawczynski meets with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during his state visit

Mr Kawczynski was one of a group of MPs who met with the prince at Parliament to discuss reforms in his country, as well as Britain's future relations with Saudi Arabia.

He said the kingdom was one of Britain's most important trading partners, and supported thousands of jobs in the UK.

Mr Kawczynski added that co-operation between the two countries in tackling terror had saves hundreds of British lives.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn this week accused the British Government of colluding with the Saudi regime in its aerial bombing campaign, which he said was creating a humanitarian disaster.

He called on the Government to ban British companies from selling jet aircraft to the Saudi government.

Yesterday, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said the prince had given signals of "clear intent" to press ahead with an order for 46 jets with BAE Systems, which has a plant in Telford.

Labour MPs also criticised the Saudi government's record on human rights.

Mr Kawczynski agreed that there were improvements that needed to be made in the country, but said the best way to achieve this was to engage with people.

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"I don't agree that just because you disagree with somebody, that it means you have don't engage with them," he said.

Mr Kawczynski said many issues, including trade, security and human rights were discussed during the meeting."

"When I first went to Saudi Arabia there were no members of parliament who were female, now its 33 per cent.

"Women are now allowed to vote and to drive a car, which they weren't before.

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"One of our big concerns is about religious freedom, they still don't allow churches for Christians.

"It's also important to ease restrictions on journalists coming into the kingdom, that way there will be a better understanding of what's happening."

Mr Kawczynski said he agreed with Labour that there was a desperate need to bring a swift end to the war in Yemen.

"This is a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia," he said.

But he added that Saudi Arabia was part of a wide-ranging coalition also including countries such as Kuwait and Egypt, that was in Yemen at the invitation of the country's legitimate government.

He said atrocities were being committed by the Houthi rebels, who were being equipped by Iran.

Mark Andrews

By Mark Andrews
@MAndrews_Star

Senior news writer for the Shropshire Star specialising in in-depth features and commentary, investigative reporting and political matters.

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