DAVID Cameron was challenged yesterday to admit that Britain is “effectively taking part in a war in Yemen” without any parliamentary approval.

During Prime Minister’s Questions, SNP Westminster group leader Angus Robertson asked what the UK Government was doing “to support peace in Yemen”. Cameron replied to say the Government was doing everything it could to encourage all sides in the conflict to get round the negotiating table.

“We have got to make sure that both Sunni and Shi’a are properly represented in that country,” Cameron said.“That is the only way that we will meet our key national interest, which is to back a government in Yemen who will drive the terrorists, including al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula out of Yemen, because they have been, and are, a direct threat to the citizens of Britain.”

Robertson then said that “thousands of civilians” in Yemen had died, and some of those had been been killed by the Saudi air force, “who have done that using British-built planes with pilots who are trained by British instructors, and who are dropping British-made bombs and are co-ordinated by the Saudis in the presence of British military advisers”.

“Is it not time for the prime minister to admit that Britain is effectively taking part in a war in Yemen that is costing thousands of civilian lives, and that he has not sought parliamentary approval to do that?” Robertson asked.

The Prime Minister said the SNP leader had “started in a serious place but then seriously wandered off”.

“Just to be absolutely clear about our role, we are not a member of a Saudi-led coalition. British military personnel are not directly involved in the Saudi-led coalition’s operations. Personnel are not involved in carrying out strikes, directing or conducting operations in Yemen, or selecting targets and we are not involved in the Saudi targeting decision-making process.

“But do we provide training and advice and help in order to make sure that countries actually obey the norms of humanitarian law? Yes, we do.”

Last month, Amnesty International and the arms control organisation Saferworld claimed the UK Government had broken national, EU and international law and policy by supplying weapons to Saudi Arabia for the military campaign in Yemen.

The Government’s understanding of the situation Yemen has led to problems for one Yemeni stuck in Glasgow. Fahim Mohamed, is currently homeless and destitute after an asylum claim was rejected.

The pharmacist, who arrived in the UK in 2009, suffered persecution and torture in his homeland and submitted a fresh claim on December 18, but is yet to have state help reinstated.

Mohamed, who lives between homeless shelters and friends’ sofas, said the long wait has left him unable to work and hit his mental and physical health.

He told The National: “I came when I was 34 years old, I’m now 40. I have waited enough time. I can’t go back to my country. I came here for safety, my life was dangerous in the past – I’m coming to work and make a life. I want to work and pay tax, I don’t have a criminal record.

“They give me nothing – no house, no help, no money. The case was refused in the middle of the war and they put me in the street.

“I want them to see the reality of how Yemen is and tell me I can stay. How long will it take?”

The National View, January 21: We need an ethical foreign policy – which means we need to stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia