Burt won’t answer boycott question

David Ward MP had question No 17 on the order paper which was not reached during the last FCO questions, but it has now been answered as a written question:

Mr Ward: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the UK missions in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem purchase settlement goods. [160015]

Alistair Burt: Our overseas missions are obliged to follow UK and EU guidelines when purchasing goods and services from suppliers. These guidelines do not currently differentiate between products emanating from Israel or from the Occupied Palestinian Territories. However, we have ensured that UK procurement rules allow for human rights related matters to be reflected in the procurement of public goods and services.
Why is the Minister being so coy about his? Surely he could answer a simple ‘yes they do buy settlement goods’ or ‘no they don’t’?
Is he hinting that the UK missions are already operating a no-settlement-goods policy, but he doesn’t want to have to explain why he isn’t following their advice?
And how does his sit with his previous answer that FCO had not sought advice on the legality of banning settlement goods. He now says quite clearly that UK procurement rules “allow for human rights-related matters to be reflected in procurement”.

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