'It was necessary to act': Lord Cameron defends strike on Houthis

Lord Cameron warned the Iran-linked militants could force up British prices if they are allowed to block the passage of container ships in the busy trade route, ITV News Correspondent Ben Chapman reports

Britain could strike Houthi targets in Yemen again if the rebel group continues to attack ships in the Red Sea, Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron has suggested.

Lord Cameron warned that the Iran-linked militants could force up prices in Britain if they are allowed to block the passage of container ships in the busy trade route.

The US struck another site in Yemen early on Saturday after the Houthis vowed revenge for the bombing raid carried out by the Americans and the RAF a day earlier.

Lord Cameron told ITV News on Sunday: "What was necessary was to send a very clear message to the Houthis that these attacks are illegal and unacceptable and what we have done is use military action as a last result.

"We issued warning after warning including warnings via the United Nations Security Council and warnings in parliament and yet they continued to act and in many ways these attacks on ships got worse.

"It was necessary to act," he added.

Lord Cameron went on to say that the "goal is to make sure that important maritime sea lanes remain open."

After the first strikes, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations received a report of a missile attack on a vessel off the coast of Aden, Yemen, on Friday afternoon.

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Meanwhile, Sir Keir Starmer defended his support for the strikes, which Rishi Sunak ordered without first consulting Parliament, as Prime Ministers sometimes do before military interventions.

Writing for the Independent, the Labour leader argued that “protecting trade, security and lives are paramount to our national interest”.

He said the Prime Minister “must make a full statement” to the Commons when it returns on Monday, but stressed the need for swift military action.

“That is why we must retain the flexibility to react with the necessary speed to threats, while also submitting to scrutiny,” he wrote.

RAF Typhoon FGR4 taking off to launch air strikes against military targets in Yemen Credit: Ministry of Defence/PA

Sir Keir was facing some criticism from the left over his support for the air strikes.

While running for the Labour leadership, he promised “no more illegal wars” and proposed a law that would require a Commons vote before military action.

But his new comments and support for the raids contradict this.

Diane Abbott, who was Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow home secretary but now sits as an independent, said: “In 2020 Keir Starmer said no more illegal wars. He said that he would only back war if it was legal, had a viable objective and Parliament gave consent.

“The current military action on Yemen has none of these yet he supports it.”

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