Control Arms: campaigners welcome Gordon Brown's commitment to arms controls but are concerned loopholes remain

The Control Arms campaign welcomes the Prime Minister's commitment to tightening UK arms controls, which he made in his Lord Mayor's speech last night. Extending export controls means UK citizens will no longer be able to sell small arms and light weapons to the world’s worst conflict zones merely by running their business outside the UK's jurisdiction.

Anna Macdonald, head of the Control Arms campaign at Oxfam, said: "The new arms controls which Mr Brown has proposed are welcome, as is the Prime Minister's commitment to working toward an international ban on cluster munitions."

However we are concerned that some serious loopholes remain. If the government is serious about stopping UK citizens doing business that fuels human rights abuses and undermines development, then these controls should cover the brokering of all conventional weapons, such as tanks and helicopter gunships.

Oliver Sprague, Amnesty International’s Programme Director, Military, Security and Police, said: "The Prime Minister’s announcement to finally close the loophole on small arms trafficking, as promised in 2001, is a very welcome step in the right direction. It will help save countless lives. The government must now seize this opportunity to close all the remaining loopholes that continue to allow UK arms to fuel human rights abuses and armed violence around the world."

Rebecca Peters from IANSA said: "We are delighted that Gordon Brown has indicated that the UK will change the laws to include the brokering of small arms wherever the broker is located. This is a proper response to globalisation since an arms broker can operate anywhere."

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