Tory MPs' cushy trips to Saudi Arabia are a national embarrassment

Theresa May rolls out the red carpet for questionable leaders, known for their disgusting racist rhetoric and complete disregard for equality and common decency, even when they take to Twitter to directly insult her.

But while the special relationship continues to disintegrate on social media, the Prime Minister is busy doing something her government prefers even more when it comes to questionable allies: Strengthen a relationship, so she can sell them arms, building on the £4.6 billion arms sales to Saudi Arabia the U.K. government has already authorized since the war in Yemen started.

On November 29 the Prime Minister sat down with the King and his mercurial heir to the throne, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (BNS), of Saudi Arabia. It was stated loudly and clearly to everyone that this time the Prime Minister had a clear message and was going to put her foot down. Enough is enough. The Saudi blockade of Yemen must end.

Only she chose to leave out the part where she said you must stop using our bombs to wreak terror on Yemeni civilians.

As the humanitarian crisis in Yemen worsens, the Prime Minister will still not intervene to halt the bloodshed.

Theresa May and Saudi Arabia King
Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud walks with Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May during a reception ceremony in Riyadh, November 29, 2017. Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS

Simply put, the Saudi Arabian military intervention in Yemen has become an unmitigated disaster, with millions of women, children and other civilians trapped within the fighting, paying the most desperate price.

Even the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, acknowledged that this is the worst crisis the world is facing, as over 100 children are dying each day due to a lack of food and a lack of medicines.

Widespread violations of human rights committed by the Saudis and a near total blockade of Yemen's ports and airspace, combined with actions taken by the Houthis and Iran, means they must take some of the blame for destroying Yemen.

The moral thing to do, the rational thing to do, and the obvious thing to do, is to halt these arms sales.

I and the Liberal Democrats first called for arms sales to be halted over two years ago and since then practically every other party in Parliament has followed suit.

Yet the government stands firm, buries its head in the sand, denies clear evidence and fights battles in courts to continue to assist in the suffering.

Assisted by a merry band of Tory backbenchers who take cushy trips to Saudi Arabia and in return use their role in Parliament as spokespeople for the regime, blindly championing the Saudi Government, the U.K. government day by day loses all credibility on the international stage due to their role in the conflict.

The Government's standing on human rights in Parliament has been destroyed by these arms sales, and as the conflict goes on, the Government's standing in the world will be damaged further as well. That's why, for the sake of millions of civilians who need help immediately, the very least Theresa May could is finally put her foot down, and stop the arms sales.


Tom Brake is the Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Carshalton and Wallington. Follow him on Twitter.