MPs critical of Raytheon after invite to meeting

Raytheon's factory in Glenrothes
Raytheon's factory in Glenrothes

Arms giant Raytheon, which has a factory in Glenrothes, has been criticised for declining to meet MPs to answer questions on arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Raytheon is the world’s third largest arms dealer and makes laser guided systems for smart bombs.

The US multinational was called to give evidence to the UK parliament’s committee on arms exports control (CAEC) at Westminster ahead of the fourth anniversary of Saudi Arabia’s bombing campaign in Yemen.

CAEC polices the government’s arms export strategy and MPs wanted to question Raytheon over sales of Paveway IV bombs to Saudi Arabia.

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Allegations are that a Saudi-led coalition of Arab states has been using UK warplanes and bombs part-made in Scotland by Raytheon in a war against Houthi rebels backed by Iran, in which as many as 60,000 people are estimated to have died so far.

Raytheon’s decision not to meet MPs in person prompted criticism.

A spokesman for CAEC said: “The committee invited Raytheon to give evidence but they declined and sent a member of their trade body, Aerospace, Defence & Security Group (ADS) instead.

“Both ADS and Raytheon considered that ADS would be able to address the relevant issues on arms export controls when ADS gave evidence to the committee.

A Raytheon spokeswoman said: “Raytheon did not refuse to attend. We, like all members of our trade association, are represented by ADS in matters of government policy.”