THERE are few issues which expose the core values of this Tory Government and its cronies more than its approach to the ongoing conflict in Yemen, and the UK’s part in arming Saudi Arabia, a key protagonist.

Although a delicate ceasefire is currently in place, over six thousand Yemenis are estimated to have been killed in the year-long conflict, with many thousands more men, women and children injured.

On a recent visit to the Yemen-Saudi Arabia border in Sa’da, Hajjah and Sanaa, representatives from Amnesty International found a partially-exploded UK-manufactured BL755 cluster bomb. Local reports state that this was one of many which were dropped in the area in the summer of 2015, but which failed to fully detonate.

This munition, now banned by international treaties and no longer manufactured in the UK, was designed to deploy a number of bomblets when it is dropped, which then explode on impact. However, a failure to detonate has the effect of sowing a deadly minefield across the target area. It’s this specific design feature which greatly increases the potential for harm to civilians and children in particular, often with terrible effects.

At the beginning of March this year, two children near the village of Fard were herding goats when they found cluster bomblets of this type. The youngest was killed and his friend severely injured when they made the tragic mistake of thinking they were toys.

It’s because of this deadly design that Amnesty have named the BL755 “one of the nastiest weapons in the history of warfare”.

Amnesty’s discovery of the bomb, which was originally manufactured in the UK in the 1970s, is surely clear evidence that the Saudi Arabia-led military coalition have used British munitions in Yemen despite the recent protestations of the current UK Government. ?

That’s why yesterday in Parliament I was pleased to be granted an Urgent Question to the government, when I asked the MoD to make an urgent statement to the House of Commons on this pressing matter. Their reply was simply astonishing.

A decent, compassionate, just government would leave no stone unturned in ensuring that our democracy fully complied with international law, and that we had no part to play in the slaughter of civilians with horrific and illegal munitions. What I saw instead was something else.

UK weapons cannot have been used in this conflict, we were assured, because the Saudi Arabian military has told us so. It was not the case that there was any evidence of munitions manufactured in the UK, because our allies in the Saudi Government have given clear assurances that this is not true.

Despite the UK signing up to an international treaty which states that we should make “best efforts to discourage States not party to this Convention from using cluster munitions”, the most the Foreign Secretary could do yesterday was to say that when speaking to the Saudi authorities British officials had made clear that they “cannot support the use of cluster munitions”.

There will be no investigation, no reference to an independent authority. Saudi Arabia cannot have broken international law because their government, a government with which we have previously refused to do business because of their poor human rights record, has simply told us so.

Time and time again the minister responsible refused to accept for one moment that Amnesty’s evidence was correct, and that the matter deserved a full and proper investigation.

In another bewildering intervention, Sir Alan Duncan, a Tory MP with a history of outrageous insensitivity on a range of issues, dismissed all of Amnesty’s evidence out of hand on the basis that he had personally visited the Saudi military headquarters. The current Parliamentary Register of Interests records that his visit, along with a group of other backbench Tory MPs, was entirely paid for by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In February, the European parliament voted by a large majority for an EU-wide ban on arms sales to Saudi Arabia, citing the “disastrous humanitarian situation” as a result of “Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen”.

In 2008 EU member states also promised not to sell weapons to countries where they might be used “to commit serious violations of international humanitarian law” and undermine regional peace and stability.

Despite signing up to these agreements, the UK government has continued to look the other way while Yemeni civilians perish in a conflict fueled by armaments manufactured on our shores.

It’s now time for the Tory Government to open their eyes to this evidence, and properly investigate the issues raised.

We must keep our commitment, brokered by the EU, not to export any further weapons to countries involved in this deadly conflict.

And complacent UK Government ministers must apologise for their continued inaction, which has resulted in the deaths of Yemeni men, women and children as a result of the continued use of British bombs.