UK protesters
© Reuters/Simon Dawson
Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT)
Anti-arms sales campaigners have given a damning assessment of the UK government's arms export licensing failures, claiming "Parliament has been shown to be totally broken," after a landmark ruling was handed down.

The UK Court of Appeal ruled on Thursday that it was "irrational and unlawful" of the government to allow arms sales to Saudi Arabia without making proper checks. In addition, it concluded that the state had "made no attempt" to assess whether Riyadh had breached international humanitarian law in the ongoing Yemen war.

Responding to the judgment, Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle, who was in court to witness the ruling handed down by three of the UK's top judges, told RT that there now needs to be "a judicial review into the whole arms licensing system."

Russell-Moyle denounced Boris Johnson for granting many of the arms licences when he was foreign secretary, adding: "This goes to the very top of the Conservative Party." He called for a public inquiry and believes the UK judgment should have further ramifications, particularly around Europe, in halting arms sales to what he insists is "a war that is not legal. Parliament has been shown to be totally broken. We had four years to sort this out ... for two years we've had a committee chair that is shrill for illegal arms sales."

Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade told reporters on the steps of the court that billions of pounds-worth of fighter jets and bombs have been sold to the Saudis, which have helped create a "humanitarian catastrophe" in Yemen. He hailed the court's decision. This has been a brutal condemnation of UK foreign policy.

The UK department for International trade has revealed it will appeal the ruling with the Secretary of State, Liam Fox telling the House of Commons that they are suspending "licences for export to Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners which might be used in the conflict in Yemen."

The Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs, Adel al-Jubeir, claimed the ruling had more to do "with process than actual substance". "Stopping weapons sales to Saudi Arabia or the coalition in Yemen is basically playing into the hands of the 'Death to America' crowd."