THE SNP has called on Boris Johnson to review UK sales of riot control equipment to the US following the scenes of public disorder resulting from the death of George Floyd.

It follows a demand from Labour for the UK Government to suspend the sale of such equipment, saying it would be a “disgrace” for it to be used to suppress protesters in America.

Mass demonstrations have swept across the US following the death of Mr Floyd, a black man who had his neck knelt on by a white police officer in Minneapolis; some have ended in violent clashes in several cities.

The issue of riot equipment sales was raised during PMQs, when Sir Keir Starmer was the first to raise Mr Floyd’s death, saying he had been shocked and angered by it.

“This has shone a light on racism and hatred experienced by many in the US and beyond,” declared the Labour leader.

“I am surprised the Prime Minister has not said anything about this yet, but I hope that the next time he speaks to President Trump he will convey to him the UK’s abhorrence about his response to the events,” he added.

Mr Johnson said he “absolutely associated” himself with Sir Keir’s sentiments but declined to address his point about Mr Trump.

“What happened in the United States was appalling and inexcusable,” declared the PM. “We all saw it on our screens. I perfectly understand people’s right to protest at what took place, although, obviously, I also believe that protests should take place in a lawful and reasonable way.”

Ian Blackford for the SNP raised the actions and rhetoric of the US President, saying they had been “distressing and deeply worrying”.

He told MPs: “We cannot delude ourselves into believing that we are witnessing anything short of a dangerous slide into autocracy.”

The MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber argued it was at times like these people looked to their elected representatives for hope, guidance, leadership and action.

“However, in the seven days since George Floyd was murdered, the UK Government have not even offered words; they have not expressed that pain. They have shuttered themselves in the hope that no one would notice.”

Claiming Mr Johnson had skirted over the issue in PMQs he too asked what representations he had made to “his ally Donald Trump” and urged him to acknowledged black lives mattered.

"Of course. black lives matter,” declared the PM. “I totally understand the anger, the grief that is felt, not just in America but around the world and in our country as well," he added.

Noting how Mr Johnson had not answered on the issue of the US President, Mr Blackford insisted it was imperative that the UK was vocal on human rights and freedom of speech and that it would be nothing short of hypocrisy if the country were to turn a blind eye to events happening in the US.

“The Prime Minister can shake his head but the UK exports millions of pounds worth of riot control equipment to the US, including tear gas and rubber bullets. The Prime Minister must have seen how these weapons are used on American streets.

“With the Government’s own guidance warning against equipment being used in such way, will the Prime Minister urgently review such exports?” asked the SNP leader.

Mr Johnson said he would be happy to look into any complaints but stressed: “All exports are conducted in accordance with the consolidated guidance and the UK is possibly the most scrupulous country in that respect in the world.”

Yesterday, Labour’s Emily Thornberry said it would be a "disgrace" if the UK supplied equipment to US authorities to crush protests.

In a letter to Liz Truss, the International Trade Secretary, she called on the Government to suspend all licences that allowed British companies to sell riot control kit to American police forces.

"I'm sure you will agree that, at a time when Donald Trump is gearing up to use the US military to crush the legitimate protests taking place across America over the murder of black civilians, it would be a disgrace for the UK to supply him with the arms and equipment he will use to do so," wrote the Shadow International Trade Secretary.

The Department for International Trade has issued a licence to an unnamed company to sell a range of crowd control items to US police and military buyers. They include CS hand grenades, anti-riot guns and projectiles, and tear gas capsules.

"If there is a risk that any of these riot control projectiles and equipment are being used in the United States against peaceful, unarmed civilians, then the Government must act immediately to stop their export," insisted Ms Thornberry.

The Campaign Against the Arms Trade said almost £6 billion worth of arms sales to the US were approved since 2010, although it is not clear whether they were destined for the military or police.

Andrew Smith, a spokesman for the campaign, said: "The brutal and racist police violence we have seen over recent days has been absolutely appalling, and so has the reckless and totally irresponsible escalation from the President and his colleagues.

"These arms sales should never have been allowed and the Government must ensure that they do not happen again. This kind of equipment is always repressive, and it can be deadly."

A Government spokesman said: "We take our export responsibilities seriously and assess export licence applications in accordance with strict licensing criteria."

Meanwhile, Sadiq Khan, the London Mayor, said the "brutal killing" of Mr Floyd had "rightly ignited fury around the world" and should serve as a "catalyst for change".

He said that it was vital that protests in London were conducted "peacefully, lawfully" and in accordance with coronavirus social distancing rules.

Chief constables from across the UK issued a joint statement, saying they "stand alongside all those across the globe who are appalled and horrified" by Mr Floyd’s death.

In a statement, the Chief Constables, the Chair of the National Police Chiefs' Council, the Chief Executive of the College of Policing and the President of the Police Superintendents' Association said: "We stand alongside all those across the globe who are appalled and horrified by the way George Floyd lost his life. Justice and accountability should follow."

They have also urged people who want to make their voices heard to be aware that "coronavirus remains a deadly disease and there are still restrictions in place to prevent its spread, which include not gathering outside in groups of more than six people".

It comes as a number of police officers were on duty at London's Hyde Park as protesters began to gather for another demonstration in the UK capital.