Keith Vaz MP: Government must make it clear the UK does not tolerate an attack on Hudaydah Port
Former Minister Keith Vaz has written to the Prime Minister about the military assault on the port of Hudaydah in Yemen. 40 MPs have also co-signed the letter including Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee Tom Tugendhat MP, Stephen Twigg MP, Chair of the International Development Committee and Harriet Harman MP, Chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights.
Today, in the early hours of the morning the Saudi and Emirati led coalition launched a military assault on the port of Hudaydah in Yemen. This is despite the concerns of the United Nations who have suggested that in a worst case scenario an attack on the port could lead to the deaths of 250,000 people.
During the Urgent Question I asked the Government on Monday, Minister Alistair Burt repeatedly stated that the Government did not support a military assault on Hudaydah.
Now 40 MPs have joined me and signed a cross party letter to the Prime Minister, co-sponsored by Alison Thewliss MP (Glasgow Central) and Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP (Sutton Coldfield). This letter urges the Government to use all available means, including removing material military support to the coalition, in order to send a clear message that the UK does not tolerate an attack on Hudaydah Port. The Rt Hon Sir Vince Cable MP, Leader of the Liberal Democrats has signed the letter. Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee Tom Tugendhat MP, Stephen Twigg MP, Chair of the International Development Committee and Rt Hon Harriet Harman MP, Chair of the Joint Committee on Human Rights have also added their signatures.
The letter and a list of the Parliamentarians who signed are below:
Dear Prime Minister,
Hudaydah Port, Yemen
We were pleased to hear following yesterday’s urgent question that the Government is not in favour of a Saudi-Emirati led military assault on the Red Sea Port of Hudaydah.
This letter is co-sponsored by Andrew Mitchell MP and Alison Thewliss MP and signed by a number of colleagues. Our letter mirrors that sent yesterday by a bipartisan group of US Congressman, Reps. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Ro Khanna (D-Calif) Thomas Massie (R-Ky), Barbara Lee (D-Calif), Walter Jones (R-N.C.) and Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) to US Defence Secretary James Mattis.
We are gravely concerned that in the absence of commercial imports in case of an attack on the port for any length of time, parts of the population could experience famine. As the UN Humanitarian Coordinator Lise Grande said “as many as 250,000 people may lose everything— even their lives,” if there is a military attack on Hudaydah Port.
17 million people in Yemen are already food insecure. Food imports have reached the lowest levels since the conflict started and the price of basic commodities has risen by a third. Hudaydah port accounts for 80% of the humanitarian and commercial aid that passes through Yemen. 22.2 million people in Yemen are in need of urgent humanitarian aid and disruption to Yemen’s deep sea port would put millions of lives at risk.
In light of the Government’s previous statements regarding a peaceful solution to the conflict, it is clear that fighting in Hudaydah would prolong the war and the suffering of the Yemeni people. UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths has said that an assault would ‘in a single stroke take peace off the table.’ We cannot stand idly by and watch this dreadful conflict continue.
We urge you to use all available means to end this catastrophic military assault on Hudaydah Port by the Saudi and Emirati led coalition. This includes removing material support from combatants. We implore you to make a statement condemning an attack on Hudaydah and calling for an urgent ceasefire.
List of MP co-signatories:
Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP (Leicester East) Chair, All Party Parliamentary Group for Yemen
Alison Thewliss MP (Glasgow Central) Secretary, All Party Parliamentary Group for Yemen
Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP (Sutton Coldfield)
Mark Pritchard MP (The Wrekin) Vice Chair, All Party Parliamentary Group for Yemen
Rt Hon Sir Vince Cable (Twickenham) Leader of the Liberal Democrats
Tom Tugendhat MP (Tonbridge and Malling) Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee
Stephen Twigg MP (Liverpool West Derby) Chair, International Development Committee
Rt Hon Harriet Harman MP (Camberwell and Peckham) Chair, Joint Committee on Human Rights
Valarie Vaz MP (Walsall South) Shadow Leader of the House of Commons
Baroness Northover, Liberal Democrats Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, House of Lords
Stephen Gethins MP (North East Fife) SNP Spokesperson for Europe and International Affairs
Chris Law MP (Dundee West) SNP Spokesperson for International Development
David Drew MP (Stroud)
Roberta Blackman-Woods MP (City of Durham)
Rt Hon Alistair Carmichael MP (Orkney and Shetland)
Catherine West MP (Hornsey and Wood Green)
Martin Day MP (Linlithgow and East Falkirk)
Stuart McDonald MP (Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch)
Andrew Slaughter MP (Hammersmith)
Naz Shah MP (Bradford West)
Carol Monaghan MP (Glasgow North West)
Joanna Cherry MP (Edinburgh South West)
Faisal Rashid MP (Warrington South)
Alan Brown MP (Kilmarnock and Loudoun)
David Linden MP (Glasgow East)
Stephen Morgan MP (Portsmouth South)
Karen Buck MP (Westminster North)
Preet Gill MP (Birmingham Edgbaston)
Gill Furniss MP (Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough)
Rt Hon Tom Brake MP (Carshalton and Wallington)
Mary Glindon MP (North Tyneside)
Tony Lloyd MP (Rochdale)
Kelvin Hopkins MP (Luton North)
Richard Burden MP (Birmingham Northfield)
Fiona Onasanya MP (Peterborough)
Ruth George MP (High Peak)
Marsha De Cordova MP (Battersea)
Virendra Sharma MP (Ealing Southall)
Afzal Khan MP (Manchester Gorton)
Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP (Brighton Kemptown)
James Frith MP (Bury North)