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THE British government has broken inspection rules at a Scottish missile factory supplying the Saudi air war in Yemen, an investigation revealed today.
Reports by The Ferret and Declassified UK showed that officials failed to meet criteria for three-yearly inspections at Raytheon’s Fife bomb-making plant.
The US arms giant’s Glenrothes factory has not been inspected since November 2016, despite making components believed to be used in missiles linked to Saudi war crimes in the Middle East.
Britain claims that its inspection regime is part of “one of the most robust export-control processes in the world,” designed to make exporters abide by regulations.
But the reports suggest that as many as four visits to weapons plants have been missed by government inspectors across Britain.
The full scale of missed inspections is unknown as the government has said that uncovering it would involve a “disproportionate cost,” with trade minister Ranil Jayawardena adding that the “commercially sensitive” outcome of visits would also be kept secret .
Groups opposing the manufacture and use of these weapons have accused the government of being “cosy” with arms companies.
Campaign Against Arms Trade spokesman Andrew Smith told Declassified: “These sites have been crucial in terms of producing arms for the Saudi-led bombing campaign.
“The fact that the government appears to be failing in its own obligations raises serious questions about the scrutiny being applied and the cosy and compromising relationship between arms companies and government.
“This does not look like a case of one mistake — it looks like a systematic failure. Why has this kept happening and, just as importantly, what is being done to ensure that it never does again?”
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