UK Business Secretary Vince Cable has revoked five export licences for Egypt amid concerns over the deaths of civilian protesters.

The licences covered equipment destined for the Egyptian army or police and included machine gun components.

Mr Cable said the UK was reviewing the licences amid violence following the ousting of President Mohammed Morsi.

On Thursday, Egypt’s interim president vowed to protect the country from “chaos and violence”.

‘Stringent criteria’
The licences revoked by the UK include components for armoured personnel carriers, radio equipment, machine gun components, components for tracked armoured infantry vehicles and communications equipment for tanks.

Mr Cable said he had taken the decision after getting advice from the Foreign Office.

“We are deeply concerned about the situation in Egypt and the events which have led to the deaths of protesters.

“All licences for exports of controlled goods to Egypt have been assessed on a case-by-case basis against a range of internationally agreed, stringent criteria which take into account the circumstances at the time the licence application was made.

“However, as a result of the changing situation in Egypt we have conducted a review of UK export licences to this country.

“Whilst we have no reports of British equipment being used in the unrest in Egypt we have taken the decision to revoke five licences.”

‘Clear risk’
Earlier this week, a report by a committee of MPs revealed that there were 134 valid licences for the export of more than £59m worth of strategically controlled goods to Egypt.

Mr Cable said future licence applications for Egypt would be assessed depending on the situation in the country.

He said: “The long-standing UK position is clear – we will not grant export licences where we judge there is a clear risk the goods might be used for internal repression, provoke or prolong conflict within a country, be used aggressively against another country or risk our national security.”

Dozens of civilians are reported to have been killed in the protests which followed the ousting of Mohammed Morsi as president by the Egyptian army.

Mr Morsi was relieved of power on 3 July in what his supporters have said was a military coup.

The army, however, said it was fulfilling the demands of the people after mass anti-Morsi protests.