Keir Starmer not briefed ahead of fresh strikes on Houthis, shadow minister says

Unlike the previous joint strikes by the US and UK, with support from allies, the government did not brief the opposition, the Labour Party has said.

A shadow minister said senior Labour figures had not been briefed ahead of fresh allied strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen last night.

Karin Smyth, who serves in Labour’s shadow health team, told GB News: “We don’t know why the Government haven’t spoken to us on the usual terms. We would expect them to do that.”

Starmer and the House of Commons speaker were consulted 10 days ago with regard to previous action against the Houthis.

However, appearing to contradict Smyth’s account, rail minister Huw Merriman said it was his understanding that Keir Starmer was briefed.

Merriman told Sky News: “Well, I can confirm that the Leader of the Opposition and indeed the Speaker were again given that information in the same way that they were the first time around so I do not believe that to be a correct interpretation.”

He added: “My understanding is that information was conveyed, … I have been told by inside government.”

Lord Cameron the foreign secretary has said the fresh set of US and UK airstrikes against Houthi targets in Yemen were intended to “send the clearest possible message that Britain backs its words and our warnings with action”.

“Since we last took action 10 days ago, there have been over 12 attacks on shipping by the Houthis in the Red Sea”, he told the BBC.

He added: “These attacks are illegal, they are unacceptable. What we have done again is send the clearest possible message that we will continue to degrade their ability to carry out these attacks while sending the clearest possible message that we back our words and our warnings with action.”

It comes as Rishi Sunak is expected to make a statement to parliament today, where Labour will likely press for further details of the government’s strategy.

On the media round today, Merriman said the PM will address the House of Commons today.

He told LBC: “The prime minister will be in the House of Commons today, as he was on the previous day following the first round, to account to parliament.

He also reiterated his claim that both Keir Starmer and Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle were informed about the strikes.

He said: “They were both informed, is my understanding”. is the UK’s leading digital-only political website, providing comprehensive coverage of UK politics. Subscribe to our daily newsletter here.