It’s right to protest against the UK rolling out the red carpet for Saudi Arabia. But don’t then invite Houthis to Parliament.

Our country’s relationship with Saudi Arabia is morally wrong and strategically harmful, as I’ve laid out on this site here and here, and as I argued on Sky News a few days ago:

For those reasons, it seems to me that Lloyd Russell-Moyle, the Labour MP, was correct when he criticised the UK for hosting a visit of the Saudi Crown Prince last year, and went on to protest against the visit. We shouldn’t play host to people who commit such crimes and promote such poison.

How odd, then, that Russell-Moyle has now invited Ahmed Alshami to Parliament. Alshami is reported to be an international spokesman for the Houthis, the violent and extremist insurgency whom the Saudis are fighting in Yemen.

If you want a snappy insight into where the Houthis are coming from, their slogan is “God is great, death to the US, death to Israel, curse the Jews, and victory for Islam”. It’s a bit more of a mouthful than “For the many, not the few” but the message is nonetheless pretty easy to understand. They are backed, predictably, by the mass-murdering tyranny of Iran.

Why on earth is a representative of such a vile and bigoted organisation, which is in turn sponsored by such a vile and bigoted regime, invited to Parliament?

Apparently Russell-Moyle styles himself as some sort of Jeremy Corbyn tribute act. The Houthi spokesman is expected to attend an event organised by ‘Stop the War‘, that predictable apologist organisation for the enemies of this country and its values. The Labour MP even performs one of Corbyn’s most memorable tunes, justifying the invitation on the grounds that “Labour supports all efforts to bring about a peace settlement in Yemen, which means encouraging dialogue with people on all sides, however much we disagree with their views…”

Except that doesn’t seem to be his approach to “people on all sides, however much we disagree with their views”. After all, he rightly opposes and protests against invitations for Saudi representatives to come to this country, and Stop the War have not – so far as we know – invited representatives of the Saudi government to speak at their event. This supposed “dialogue” seems a little one-sided.

Either it is wrong to “roll out the red carpet” or it is not. It’s perfectly possible to treat both reprehensible sides consistently. So why doesn’t he do so?

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Author: Mark Wallace


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