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JEREMY CORBYN pressed Theresa May today to cancel arms deals and demand a ceasefire in Yemen at her upcoming private dinner with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The British government is “colluding” in war crimes by selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, the Labour leader said during Prime Minister’s Questions.
Britain also has military officers advising and training the coalition bombing Yemen.
The royal’s red-carpet welcome, before he lunched with Elizabeth Windsor, triggered protests this evening outside Downing Street.
Saudi Arabia is Britain’s biggest arms customer, having licensed £4.6 billion-worth of equipment since beginning its bombardment of its southern neighbour Yemen in early 2015.
Mr Corbyn pointed out that Germany has suspended arms sales to the warmongering monarchy.
Ms May claimed that Britain’s relationship with Saudi Arabia — helping it kill thousands in Yemen — has “saved the lives of potentially hundreds of people in this country.”
She attempted to justify the Saudi blitz by saying it was requested by the Yemeni government — a puppet of Riyadh. She said Britain also supports the war and it is backed by the UN security council.
Only 6 per cent of British people support arms sales to Saudi Arabia, according to a Populus poll of 2,000 people published today.
Meanwhile Saudi Arabia has doubled its rate of executions to 133 since Mohammed bin Salman was appointed to his position last July, according to new research by human rights charity Reprieve.
If this rate of an average of just over 16 per month continues, this year could see 200 executions, the highest number ever recorded in Saudi Arabia in one year.
Reprieve director Maya Foa said: “Beneath his glossy public image, Mohammed bin Salman is one of the most brutal leaders in the kingdom’s recent history.”
She called on Ms May to urge him to “commute the sentences of all child protesters facing execution.”
Mohammed bin Salman is behind Saudi Arabia’s modernisation programme Vision 2030, dismissed as a “mirage” by Amnesty International.
An inaugural annual meeting of a UK-Saudi strategic partnership council will be held at No 10 during his three-day visit to discuss £100bn of Saudi investment.
During an urgent question in the Commons, shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry accused the British government of “bowing and scraping” to Prince Salman and his oppressive regime.
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