Dr Neil Hudson paid tribute to the UK’s brave armed forces who are protecting freedom of navigation and the safety of shipping following attacks by Houthis in the Red Sea.
His comments came during a Ministerial Statement from Rishi Sunak in the House of Commons entitled ‘Defending the UK and our allies in a more dangerous world’, and Dr Hudson highlighted the economic impact of disruption to trade routes.
Iran-backed Houthis operating in Yemen have been attacking cargo ships in the Red Sea since November, destabilising international trade. Despite repeated warnings from the international community, the Houthis have continued to carry out attacks, including against UK and US warships.
The Prime Minister was resolute that this cannot stand, and the UK has therefore taken action. The RAF struck two Houthi military targets in Yemen – a limited, necessary and proportionate act of self-defence alongside international partners.
These strikes were carefully targeted at launch sites for drones and ballistic missiles to degrade the Houthi’s capacity to make further attacks on international shipping.
With vital trade routes disrupted, commodity prices may be driven up and Dr Hudson was keen to draw the link between the safety of commercial shipping and the UK economy.
The full exchange in the House of Commons:
Dr Neil Hudson MP said:
“I thank the Prime Minister for his clear statement on this necessary military action in Yemen.
“Can I join him in paying tribute to our brave armed forces at this time? And can the Prime Minister reaffirm that this action is important for protecting freedom of navigation and the safety of shipping, which has direct and indirect impacts both on world trade and indeed our UK economy?”
Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, replied:
“My Honourable Friend is absolutely right to point out the impact of what's happening in the Red Sea on British families at home. 15% of global trade passes through this corridor and as we are seeing if they have to reroute, that will have a direct consequence on the prices that British families pay.
“And as we saw with the Ukraine and Russia situation, we can't ignore what is happening.
“We need to act to protect British people and ensure their economic security.”
Speaking afterwards, Dr Neil Hudson MP said:
“With UK ships targeted by Iran-backed Houthis, the cost of inaction was too high. These limited, necessary and proportionate strikes were important for self defence and to protect freedom of navigation and the global economy.
“Freedom of navigation is a fundamental tenet to international law that must be upheld. It was right that the Prime Minister took this urgent action, and I am grateful to the Defence Secretary for the emergency briefing call for MPs the next day that I attended.”
“I thank the Prime Minister for his response – he rightly agrees that British people and our economic security must be protected throughout the globe.”
To watch the full debate in the House of Commons, click here.