Theresa May's Saudi Arabia visit is vital to UK interests, says foreign affairs committee chair

'Breaking our relationship with Saudi Arabia would damage the UK', says foreign affairs committee

Theresa May is visiting Saudi Arabia, amid widespread criticism

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The chair of Parliament's foreign affairs committee has defended Theresa May's visit to Saudi Arabia, saying our relationship with Riyadh is vital to Britain's interests.

Crispin Blunt also told Sam Delaney that, despite criticism from human rights groups, there's a "big transformation" taking place in the Gulf state.

Mrs May has faced widespread scrutiny for her Saudi Arabia, centring on the country's reputation for draconian justice and marked gender inequality.

But Blunt told Sam Delaney that Britain can't risk "undermining our prosperity" and we mustn't "take away markets we could be selling to." 

Our relationship with Riyadh also gives us "the right to be listened to" in the country, Blunt added, ensuring Britain continues to be a major power overseas.

Turning to human rights, Blunt insisted the issue will be discussed, but nonetheless the country is moving forward and there is a major "social modernisation programme" already in place.

Listen to the interview above.