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Thornberry says government ‘making excuses’ on Yemen to keep arms trade alive

THE TORY government has been making excuses for the Saudi-led bombardment of Yemen to protect its “lucrative trade in arms” Emily Thornberry said today.

In an emergency parliamentary debate, the shadow foreign secretary called on MPs "not to stay silent but to raise our voices ever louder" in the face of the ongoing war.

The United Nations estimates that, last month alone, the conflict killed or injured 981 civilians, including over 300 children.

Ms Thornberry told the Commons: “It seems as though no Saudi atrocity is too much and no Saudi behaviour cannot be excused so that the government’s inaction at the United Nations and its lucrative trade in arms can be allowed to continue.”

She called for an independent UN-led investigation into all allegations of war crimes in the conflict, plus the suspension of British arms sales for use in the conflict until the probe is complete.

Theresa May's government should “at long last do its job as the pen holder on Yemen” at the UN security council and bring forward a new resolution obliging all sides to respect a ceasefire to allow peace talks and open access for humanitarian relief, Ms Thornberry added.

Labour MP Stephen Twigg, who chairs the international development committee, also called on ministers to condemn violence in the region more strongly and suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

“We need a strong, clear, firm condemnation by our government of these attacks,” he said.

Mr Twigg pointed out that Spain had recently cancelled an arms deal with Saudi Arabia “over concerns that these weapons are being used in the war in Yemen,” adding: “Can I once again today urge the government to look to suspend arms sales by the UK that could be used in Yemen?”

Tory former international development secretary Andrew Mitchell warned that the people of Yemen “know that the UK and the US are involved.”

He said it would be “hard to find a more eloquent and effective recruiting sergeant for those who wish to do us ill than the policy that is being pursued by our government.”

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