Yemen

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

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Photo of Keith Vaz Keith Vaz Labour, Leicester East 12:56 pm, 21st November 2018

I thank my right hon. Friend Emily Thornberry for asking the urgent question and you, Mr Speaker, for granting it; otherwise, we would not be having this discussion. I also thank my right hon. Friend for coming to Paris recently with nine other hon. Members for the first conference of parliamentarians. It is not just our House that is outraged; people in the French Assembly and elsewhere are concerned. My right hon. Friend is right that there has been a change of tone at the top of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, although not in the middle ranks. The Minister for the Middle East has always been a friend of Yemen and we should not forget his contribution.

I say to the Foreign Secretary that fine words are not enough, although he has given them today. If he holds the pens, he has to use them—not just look at them. That means, first, convening a meeting of the Quint—getting together the Foreign Ministers of the countries involved. He can do that; his predecessor was reluctant to do so. Secondly, he must guarantee the Houthis’ safe passage to Sweden. One reason they did not come to Geneva was that they thought they would not get to Sweden. Thirdly, he must remember that every single day more Yemenis die, so we cannot wait even two weeks; we have to do this now. With every single hour of delay, another Yemeni dies. Five Yemeni children die every single day. So, we cannot wait to be nice to people; we need to get on and table the resolution.