Yemen

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:56 pm on 21st November 2018.

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Photo of Stephen Gethins Stephen Gethins Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) 12:56 pm, 21st November 2018

I thank the Foreign Secretary for his recognition of the humanitarian cost and for the tone that he brings to this. The Save the Children report said that 85,000 children under five have starved to death as a direct result of the war in Yemen, with half of the population at risk of famine. I associate myself with the remarks of the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Tom Tugendhat, about the work of UK officials, not least the ambassador, at the UN.

The Foreign Secretary talked about UK aid, and he is right—we recognise the importance of that—but UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia far outstrip our aid. In fact, last year—2017—there was an increase on 2016 in the level of arms sold to Saudi Arabia. There is recognition across the House that this conflict is having an appalling humanitarian cost, and there has been agreement for quite some time that there is no military solution to this conflict. As such, is it not time to turn off the taps of arms sales to Saudi Arabia right now?