Death of Jamal Khashoggi

Part of October EU Council – in the House of Commons at 6:33 pm on 22nd October 2018.

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Photo of Thomas Tugendhat Thomas Tugendhat Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee 6:33 pm, 22nd October 2018

I am sure the whole House joins in expressing our sympathy to the Kashoggi family and his fiancé. Can I ask my right hon. Friend to talk a little about the situation we are in with Saudi Arabia? We have gone from having something that was far from a democracy, but was at least a consultative monarchy, to what is in many ways a unipolar autocracy under the Crown Prince. Does my right hon. Friend agree that this injection of vulnerability and instability into the Saudi regime is one that we should all be concerned about, but no one more than King Salman himself, who has allowed this instability in his kingdom, his rule and his house?

Although this vile murder stands alone for its horror, does my right hon. Friend agree that it is part of a pattern of abuse of press freedom that we have seen against YouTubers, critics and other writers in Saudi Arabia, and that therefore we should be very clear that this is not an individual act? The United Kingdom has been nothing if not a bastion for free speech and liberty of expression, and we must be firm in this instance too.