THE Government is giving “non-answers” on its role in the Yemen conflict despite claims of more than 250 possible war crimes, MPs heard yesterday.

Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry hit out at Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood following reports that the Ministry of Defence is tracking more than 250 allegations of human rights violations by forces led by Saudi Arabia in the crippled nation.

Using planes and munitions made in the UK, the Gulf kingdom is heading a coalition of foreign troops against the Houthi rebels who control large parts of the country.

President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi fled in March 2015 after the Houthis, loyal to the country’s previous authoritarian leader Ali Abdullah Saleh, tried to take control of the entire nation.

The United Nations says about 10,000 people have died since and more than 60 per cent of civilian deaths are attributed to Saudi airstrikes.

Yesterday Thornberry pressed the Government on the MoD reports and accused Ellwood of repeating “non-answers” for months on end.

She said: “Every debate, every month, now every year, we ask the same basic questions and every time the minister – whose name is now, I’m afraid, synonymous with the Yemen conflict – stands there and gives us the same non-answers, and we have had the same today.”

Thornberry went on: “We need to once again ask this government what it is doing to end the conflict in Yemen. He talks about the need for a political solution. When is he going to present our resolution to the UN?

“When are we going to get proper investigations into alleged violations of international humanitarian law?

“Why are we continuing to sell Saudi Arabia the arms to wage this conflict, and ultimately when are we going to bring the suffering of the people of Yemen to an end and then get the humanitarian aid to them that they need?”

Ellwood conceded the progress of aid into Yemen was “cumbersome and slow”, but said efforts were being made, adding: “The sooner the people of Yemen recognise themselves that there is no military end to this but there must be a political solution, the sooner we can get even further amounts of aid into the country.”

As much as 90 per cent of Yemen’s food supply was imported before the conflict began and the fighting, combined with port blockades by the coalition and the collapsed economy, has led to widespread food shortages and malnutrition.

As many as seven million people are thought to be starving.

The 250 possible breaches were uncovered through a freedom of information request and the government says all arms exports are kept under “careful and continual review”.

The sales to Saudi Arabia will be challenged at the Supreme Court by the Campaign Against Arms Trade next month.

In an urgent question, Ochil and South Perthshire MP Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh made fresh calls for an independent enquiry, asking the Government to “think on its own position and listen to members across this House and please consider all sales of arms to Saudi now”.

Ellwood said he supported the continued trade and that Saudi Arabia must investigate alleged breaches of human rights committed by the coalition it leads.

He added: “If I feel that these reports that are due to come – and are slowly coming, for a country that’s never had to be pressed to write a report before – if they are deemed to be unworthy or unsuitable or miss the purpose of why they’re being written, then yes I will join with her and say this should be moved to an independent examiner, possibly the United Nations as well.”