I’VE received a great deal of correspondence about the UK’s position on arms sales to Saudi Arabia, particularly because of the situation in Yemen – which many people learnt about through the Disasters Emergency Committee campaign just before Christmas, showing the stark reality of suffering and starvation caused by the ongoing conflict.

It’s something I’ve been raising for many months, not least given the strong connections between Yemen and our local area.

The UN and World Health Organisation estimate that 18.8 million Yemeni citizens - almost two thirds of the population - are in dire need of assistance and protection.

As of October, there had been almost 44,000 casualties, with 75 people killed or injured on average every day. The UN says that 3,000 children have been killed or injured since last March.

The UK Aid team working in Yemen has been instrumental in supporting and facilitating the humanitarian relief effort through its timely and flexible response – crucial evidence of why we need to adhere to our 0.7 per cent aid commitment.

However, I believe that such excellent work risks being undermined by the continued sale to Saudi Arabia by the UK of arms that are being used in Yemen, which it appears have been used in violations of international humanitarian law against civilians.

The actions of both sides in this conflict - including the dreadful recruitment of child soldiers and atrocities by the Iran-backed Houthis - are having horrific consequences.

However, we are only selling arms to one side (the Saudi-led coalition), so we have a particular responsibility in that regard. The UN estimates that more than 60 per cent of civilian casualties were the result of attacks by the Saudi coalition.

The UK is a signatory to the Arms Trade Treaty, something I campaigned for since I was a student, and we led the fight for it internationally.

I’m proud that there was cross-party support for it, and that successive governments have driven it forward. We also signed up to the EU arms criteria and have our own regulations, which are very clear.

I believe the UK could potentially be in breach of these commitments – and I voted this week for a thorough, independent investigation into the allegations.

There have been obfuscations and confusions not only from the Saudis, but also from the UK Government and ministers. We need independent verification of what has gone on. Until we get that, I support calls by Oxfam and others for a suspension of arms sales.