The five main opposition parties in Britain have called on the government to change its stance toward Saudi Arabia, saying the kingdom has already crossed many boundaries in committing crimes and violating human rights.
In a joint letter to British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt, the five parties, namely, Labour, SNP, Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru and the Greens, said it was time for a change of policy toward Saudi Arabia following the death of a prominent Saudi journalist in Turkey and in light of continued crimes committed by Riyadh in the war on Yemen.
Saudi Arabia has been subject to renewed pressure over its role in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, an exiled journalist who was brutally killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul earlier this month.
Governments around the world have been considering punitive measures against Riyadh since it admitted the assassination on Friday.
Many have called on Britain, a major ally of Saudis, to stop supplying the regime with weapons. However, the Conservative-led government says such a ban would benefit rivals in the weapons market.
The five British opposition parties said in their letter to Hunt that it was “hard to imagine what crime the Saudi government would need to commit” for the UK government to condemn it.
The letter, signed by the foreign representatives of the parties and seen by the Guardian newspaper, said reports showing that Khashoggi was tortured and murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul constituted “the latest in a litany of charges that have been laid before the Saudi regime by the international community”.
“It cannot be business as usual with a regime that displays blatant contempt and disregard for international law and human rights. The consistent inaction of your government is utterly incompatible with our most basic value as a democracy,” read the letter, which was organized by the SNP.
The Labour Party had earlier slammed Britain’s weak and feeble response to the Khashoggi case, saying it would certainly impose a ban on arms sale to Saudi Arabia if it was in power.