THE Prime Minister has dismissed calls for a vote on launching strikes against Houthi rebels in the Red Sea as he was warned of the risks of “escalation” in the volatile region.

Rishi Sunak insisted he had no plans for a “sustained campaign” against the Yemeni group, which has been targeting international shipping vessels in the Middle East, in what they call a solidarity mission with the under-siege people of Palestine.

Updating MPs on Monday night’s RAF strikes against the group, the Prime Minister said Britain’s actions in conjunction with the US military had helped to “further degrade” the Houthi’s offensive capabilities.

But he insisted: “We are not seeking a confrontation.”

The Prime Minister also announced that MPs would have a chance to debate the UK’s response to the Red Sea attacks on Wednesday and said new sanctions would be announced in the coming days.

But he rejected LibDem leader Ed Davey’s call for a vote on Britain’s military response, saying the UK “reserved the right to take action”.

READ MORE: UK and US launch new round of airstrikes on Houthi targets in Yemen

Davey (below) also said there was “remarkably little clarity about what the next steps are” as the PM insisted the strikes came as part of a wider diplomatic and economic strategy to neutralise the threat posed by the Yemeni group.

The National: Ed Davey

“As the Prime Minister updates the House for the second time on this matter, there’s remarkably little clarity about what the next steps are and when the UK’s objectives will be judged to have been fulfilled,” said Davey.

“Nor has the Prime Minister sufficiently addressed how he plans to avoid regional escalation in this most fragile of regions.”

The LibDem MP added: “Will he not give the House the opportunity to vote on this matter? Not least given the huge cross-party support there is for limited strikes, which would surely strengthen the signal he intends to give.”

Sunak replied: “What is escalatory is the Houthis ramping up attacks on commercial shipping, launching missiles and drones against US and UK warships and threatening allied bases in the region.

“I’d be very clear: military action was a last resort, we provided warning after warning, including with allies and at the UN Security Council. The Houthis had and continue to have the ability to prevent this by stopping their illegal attacks.”

Turning to the call for a vote, Sunak added: “I’m pleased the House will have the opportunity to debate this tomorrow, but as I said, we reserve the right to take action in a limited, proportion and legal way, in self-defence. That’s the right thing and I think the country would expect nothing less from the Government.”

READ MORE: Journalist dismantles Sky News question on Houthi bombing

Meanwhile Stephen Flynn, the SNP’s Westminster leader, urged Sunak to reveal what his “ultimate strategy” was in responding to the Houthis.

He noted the rebel group had been “under almost constant bombardment from Saudi Arabia for the best part of eight years” and did not “get that message”.

Flynn (below) added: “Why are we so confident that they will get our message this time around?”

The National: Stephen Flynn

Sunak told MPs that military strikes came as part of a “strategy” including diplomatic pressure and economic sanctions against the Houthis and their backers in the Iranian government.

He added: “We will use all levers to bring about an end to the disruption and the illegality the Houthis are causing.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer told the Commons: “Labour said we will judge further action on the Houthis on a case-by-case basis, so let me be clear: we back this targeted action to reinforce maritime security in the Red Sea.

“The Houthi attacks must stop. They are designed to destabilise us so we must stand united and strong, they bring danger to ordinary civilians who are working hard at sea, so we must protect them, and they aim to disrupt the flow of goods, food and medicines, so we must not let them go unaddressed.”