MPs will on Tuesday (15th March) debate new guidelines regarding ethical procurement by local councils.

The guidelines were announced by Cabinet Office Minister, Matthew Hancock, during a visit to Israel in February. They aim to deter local councils and other public bodies from making procurement and investment decisions based on ethical considerations, including avoiding companies which are involved in the Israeli occupation.

Sara Apps, interim Director of Palestine Solidarity Campaign, said: “These guidelines were produced without any consultation with Parliament, and Tueday’s debate will be the first chance that MPs have been given to discuss them.

“We hope that the debate will clear up some of the confusion that has surrounded these guidelines since they were announced in Israel by a British Government Minister.”

Ms Apps added: “While the guidelines are written in a way designed to intimidate local councillors, they do not actually stop local councils from making ethical procurement decisions. Local councils and public bodies can absolutely continue to refuse to do business with companies involved in the Israeli occupation and human rights abuses, and we hope Tuesday’s debate in Parliament will make that clear.”

The Parliamentary debate – ‘Local government and ethical procurement’ – is due to take place on 15th March from 2-4.30pm.

Ms Apps said: “Palestine Solidarity Campaign will continue to work to make local councils aware that their right to make ethical decisions in procurement and investment has not been removed by these guidelines.

“We’re pleased that councils are also fighting back, including Newcastle City Council and Leicester City Council, which have both affirmed their commitment to ethical procuring this month. No-one is going to take the government’s attempted assault on local democracy lying down.”

Ends

This media release was sent to national and international media on Friday 11th March 2016