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Andrew Mitchell secures an emergency debate on Yemen’s unfolding catastrophe of ‘Biblical proportions’

The Royal Town’s MP, Andrew Mitchell, secured an emergency debate in the House of Commons this week, raising concern at the humanitarian crisis which is happening in Yemen where Britain’s ally, Saudi Arabia, was preventing aid shipments of food and medicine from entering Yemen.

Mr Mitchell criticised the UK Government arguing that it was dangerously complicit in its engagement with Saudi Arabia and Yemen, which is directly promoting an “almighty catastrophe of biblical proportions” and the “collective punishment” of an entire population. During the debate Mr Mitchell condemned the British Government’s “quiet diplomacy” which thus far, had “failed to curb outrage after outrage perpetrated by our allies as they destroy bridges, roads and hospitals.”

The former International Development Secretary added: “Britain’s [foreign] policy is riddled with internal inconsistencies. While one limb of the British Government is desperately trying to secure entry into the port of Hodeidah for vital food, medicine and fuel, another limb is assisting with the blockade and, indeed, the targeting of attacks.”

“Far from helping to make Saudi Arabia’s borders safer and diminishing the threat of international terrorism, we are radicalising an entire generation of Yemeni young people, whose hatred of us for what we are doing to them and their country may well translate into a potent recruitment tool for international terrorists.”

Reflecting on his visit to Yemen earlier this year, Mr Mitchell spoke of a disturbing experience: “When I went to Sa’dah, I visited a school that had been bombed by the Saudi air force...On my arrival, the children started chanting in much the same way as children in our primary schools declaim nursery rhymes. On inquiring of the translator what they were saying, I was told they were chanting, “Death to the Saudis and Americans!” In deference to my visit, they had omitted from their chanting the third country on their list.”

Making his closing remarks Mr Mitchell said: “At least seven whole cities have run out of clean water and sanitation and aid agencies are unable to get food to starving families…Yemen is a country ravaged by medieval diseases and on the precipice of famine. With rapidly dwindling food and fuel stocks and the dire humanitarian situation pushing at least seven million people into famine, it is now vital that there is unimpeded access for both humanitarian and commercial [supplies].”

Andrew Mitchell speaking in the House of Commons, 30 November 2017

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