THIS coming Saturday, January 27, marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

To mark this solemn day, Dudley College’s Students Union and a small group of volunteers once again organised an incredibly thought-provoking commemoration last week.

We heard first-hand testimony from Steven Frank BEM who, like so many Holocaust survivors, bravely shares his and his family’s experiences so the world will hopefully never allow such an atrocious human tragedy to happen again.

Back in Parliament, we have delivered some good news through the Animal Welfare Bill which bans the export of live animals for slaughter or fattening from the UK.

Lots of residents have passionately contacted me about this issue over the last few years. It’s also an issue I feel strongly about and was a key pledge in my party’s last manifesto.

Thankfully, because we left the European Union, we as the UK Government are able to legislate for this ban.

The Bill has gone through the House of Commons, it’s going to the Lords and will then go for Royal Assent. Once that happens, the live export of cattle, pigs, sheep, and other animals will not be allowed from this country – preventing the stress and suffering those animals currently endure on long journeys around the European Continent and beyond.

We are the first European country to bring in this ban. On top of our existing animal welfare standards, which are some of the highest in the world, this ban will strengthen our position even further.

Although events elsewhere in the world may seem far from home and too far away to be of concern to us here in Britain, the impact that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has had on the cost of living here and around the rest of the world reminds us that we simply cannot afford to think that way.

That is why, working with our allies in the US and with the support of Australia, Bahrain, the Netherlands and Canada, the RAF have carried out airstrikes on Houthi military targets in Yemen who have been directly attacking Western shipping in the Red Sea.

An estimated 15 per cent of world seaborne trade passes through the southern Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, therefore the Prime Minister is absolutely right in saying we cannot let missile and drone attacks by rebel groups such as the Houthis go unchallenged.

The UN Security Council demanded that the Houthis stop the attacks and the official government of Yemen also condemned the Houthis’ attacks. With more than 20 other countries, we launched Operation Prosperity Guardian in December, to protect international shipping.

Neither the UK or the US want a confrontation, but these attacks by the Houthis are direct breaches of international law guaranteeing freedom of the seas and are totally unacceptable.

The Prime Minister has made sure that we in the UK are doing as much as we can to encourage diplomatic efforts that bring the Houthi attacks, and therefore this conflict, to an end. We are working with allies to cut the funding streams which the Houthis depend on, and blocking their weapons supply chains.

But once again, as any responsible leader would and should do, the Prime Minister has made clear that the UK will continue to act in self-defence whenever and wherever necessary.