Jeremy Corbyn slams Theresa May’s government after ‘children are slaughtered’

Jeremy Corbyn challenges Theresa May and Conservatives over Saudi support

Jeremy Corbyn has called for the Conservative government to drop its support for the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen. The intervention comes after at least 29 children were “slaughtered” when bombs hit a school bus in Yemen.

The Labour leader slammed the government, demanding that “UK support for this conflict” end. Other leading Labour figures also echoed Corbyn’s calls.

Saudi-led coalition

The Saudi airstrike hit the northern Yemeni province of Saada. The UK-backed Saudi-led coalition killed at least 29 children, all under the age of 15. According to The Guardian, a further 30 children sustained injuries.

According to Save the Children, the bus was heading back to school after a picnic. The driver had stopped to get a drink at the Dahyan market when the bombs hit.

The Saudi-led coalition claimed the strike was a “legitimate military action”. It also claimed the bombing conformed to “international and humanitarian laws”.

“Children were slaughtered”

Corbyn, who has a history of opposing UK arms sales to Saudi, called on the government to act now. In a tweet on 10 August, the Labour leader said:

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry also put pressure on the government. The Labour MP said the UK was:

…arming and advising a Saudi air force that cannot tell or does not see the difference between a legitimate military target and a bus full of children, a family wedding, or a civilian food market.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell backed Thornberry, tweeting:

Humanitarian crisis

Yemen remains one of the world’s largest humanitarian crisis zones. According to United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterreshave, at least 22 million people, three-quarters of the nation’s population, are in desperate need of aid.

Saudi Arabia is the UK arms trade’s largest customer. Arms sales to the kingdom have risen by almost 500% since the start of its intervention in the Yemeni conflict. In March, the UK government signed a provisional deal for the sale of 48 BAE Systems fighter jets to the regime.

The UK military has also provided the Saudis with targeting training on the ground. Theresa May welcomed the Kingdom’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman to the UK in March this year.

Drop Saudi support

In response to Corbyn’s intervention, journalist Mehdi Hasan asked a potent question:

After another shocking incident where innocent civilians have been murdered, it must be asked: what will it take for the UK government to drop support for the Saudi regime’s campaign?

Opposition parties must unite to condemn the government’s continued support. And the people of this country must make it clear that this Conservative administration is not acting in our name.

Get Involved!

– Write to your local MP about Britain’s silence on Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses.

– Read more of the Canary’s coverage of the crisis in Yemen

Featured image via Chatham House and Raul Mee

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