SHAFAQNA – The Mayor of London is facing calls from Hillingdon Liberal Democrats to boycott a Saudi bank in protest at the country’s human rights record.
Local activists are backing their party leader Tim Farron’s calls for the Mayor of London (Mr Johnson) to remove £100 million of Greater London Assembly cash from Riyad bank, which is 51% owned by the government of Saudi Arabia.
It follows the execution of 47 people by the Saudis this month, including Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.
Mr Farron challenged Boris to promise never to invest public money in regimes with “such terrible human rights records”, adding that “words are not enough”.
“History will not look favourably on the current Saudi regime and we do not want history to find us helping fund their brutal regime,” he said.
“The Saudi people face being murdered by the state for so-called ‘crimes’ as minor as peaceful protest.
“Peaceful protest is not a crime, it is a fundamental human right that we as a tolerant, civilised society should support. But as long as Mr Johnson keeps GLA money invested in banks part owned by the Saudi government, he is helping their bloody oppression.”
Mr Lawley said residents should write to the Mayor and urge him to put “people before profit”.
A spokesperson for the GLA said the authority has a duty to ensure its “short-term cash balances are invested with an aim of minimising the risks of any loss to the taxpayer”.
The GLA added that investments are made by officers in the treasury team, “without political involvement” from the Mayor and target “high-quality and creditworthy institutions”.
Boris came under fire last month over £3.5million of GLA money given to Heathrow Airport.