The SNP has called for an immediate ceasefire in the conflict in Yemen, saying it is "vital" to the lives of millions of Yemeni people.

Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh said the Government should use a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Thursday to press for an immediate cessation in hostilities.

The UN says 10,000 people have died in the conflict so far, which pits Shiite Houthi rebels and allied forces against the Saudi-led coalition.

Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood said the Government backed a ceasefire, but had to deal in the art of the possible.

Ms Ahmed-Sheikh also made fresh calls to ministers for an independent inquiry into alleged human rights abuses in the country, and a ban on arms exports to Saudi Arabia.

The MP for Ochil and South Perthshire said: "The only way to prevent this unfolding humanitarian disaster deteriorating even further is to agree an immediate ceasefire.

"Today's meeting of the UN Security Council provides a key opportunity to bring that closer.

"The SNP believes that the UK is in a unique position to be able to show positive international leadership, in order to bring about the ceasefire to which I refer.

"It is vital to the lives of millions of Yemenis that we do so."

Mr Ellwood supported a ceasefire, saying: "I understand her desire to want to call for a ceasefire, a cessation of hostilities, immediately.

"We will see what comes out of the meeting today, and what comes out from the United Nations.

"But I'm absolutely in agreement with her, this is what we actually want to happen.

"Calling for it needs to work in conjunction with the art of the possible, otherwise it simply is just words.

"In order for us to ensure that it will hold, we need to be able to say what happens if one of the sides, either of the sides, actually breaches the cessation of hostilities."

Ms Ahmed-Sheikh said there is heavy fighting in some Red Sea ports around Yemen and "an increasingly dire humanitarian situation across the country".

Seven million people are already starving in the country, she added.

The SNP MP said: "If these ports are destroyed or besieged, then delivery of vital aid, which is required to avert famine in Yemen, will become even more difficult.

"Will the UK Government commit to use today's meeting of the Security Council to back a ceasefire, and ask all conflict parties to protect women, boys, men and girls from all forms of conflict-related abuse and violence?

"Ensure that all conflict parties allow civilians safe and unhindered access to humanitarian assistance, and strongly condemn all violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law in Yemen, and call for the establishment of an international, independent and impartial commission of inquiry to investigate them?

"And finally, to ask the Government to once again think on its own position and listen to members across this House, and please consider all sales of arms to Saudi now?"

Mr Ellwood said he had "deep concern for the humanitarian suffering of the people of Yemen" and shared her concerns for safe humanitarian access.

The minister said it was protocol for Saudi Arabia to initially investigate breaches of human rights committed by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

He added: "If I feel that these reports that are due to come - and are slowly coming, for a country that's never had to be pressed to write a report before - if they are deemed to be unworthy or unsuitable or miss the purpose of why they're being written, then yes I will join with her and say this should be moved to an independent examiner - possibly the United Nations as well."

Mr Ellwood said the UK had one of the most robust processes for scrutiny of arms sales in the world and still supported exports to Saudi Arabia.

He added: "It is critical that all parties to the conflict renew their commitment to the cessation of hostilities, for the sake of the people of Yemen."

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry pressed the Government on reports that the Ministry of Defence is tracking 252 allegations of human rights violations by the Saudi-led coalition.

She criticised Mr Ellwood for offering "non-answers" on the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia, human rights violations and the provision of international aid.

Ms Thornberry told MPs: "Every debate, every month, now every year, we ask the same basic questions and every time the minister - whose name is now, I'm afraid, synonymous with the Yemen conflict - stands there and gives us the same non-answers, and we have had the same today."

The Labour MP added: "We need to once again ask this Government what it is doing to end the conflict in Yemen. He talks about the need for a political solution. When is he going to present our resolution to the UN?

"When are we going to get proper investigations into alleged violations of international humanitarian law?

"Why are we continuing to sell Saudi Arabia the arms to wage this conflict and ultimately when are we going to bring the suffering of the people of Yemen to an end and then get the humanitarian aid to them that they need?"

Mr Ellwood admitted that the progress of aid into Yemen was "cumbersome and slow", but efforts were being made to address the problem.

He said: "The sooner the people of Yemen recognise themselves that there is no military end to this but there must be a political solution, the sooner we can get even further amounts of aid into the country."

Tory Michael Gove (Surrey Heath) called for ministers to curb the actions of Iran in the conflict, describing the country as "the world's most prominent state sponsor of terror".

The crisis in Yemen is seen as part of a wider regional struggle between Shia-ruled Iran and Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia.

Mr Gove said: "The Houthi rebels in Yemen enjoy the support and patronage of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which is the world's most prominent state sponsor of terror, responsible for genocidal violence in Syria.

"What pressure is being brought to bear on the regime in Tehran to advance the cause of peace rather than to continue to glory in slaughter?"

Mr Ellwood told MPs he had urged Iranian leaders to abandon the "cold war" with Saudi Arabia on a recent visit to the capital, Tehran.

He said: "I made it very, very clear that actually not just Yemen but the wider region will benefit if this cold war that almost exists between Saudi Arabia and Iran were to thaw and move forward.

"If we can get the security right and the understanding of where things should go in future, the prosperity for the region will be huge, not least the benefits for Yemen as we would then see an end to this war."