Jamal Khashoggi

Thank you for contacting me about the death of Jamal Khashoggi within the premises of the Saudi Consulate General in Istanbul.

Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, has been clear that nothing can justify this killing and I am encouraged that he, and the Prime Minister, have condemned it in the strongest possible terms.

Defending freedom of expression and a free press is a key priority for the UK. The threatening, attacking or killing of journalists, under any circumstances, is unacceptable and of utmost concern.

I understand that the Saudis have given a statement of their preliminary findings. But, there remains an urgent need for clarification of exactly what happened that day - the claim that Mr Khashoggi died in a fight does not amount to a credible explanation. We need to know who authorised the dispatch of 15 officials from Saudi Arabia to Turkey; when the Government in Riyadh first learned of Mr Khashoggi's death and why it took so long for his death to be disclosed. The Foreign Secretary has spoken to his Saudi counterpart on a number of occasions since the news broke, and has also met with the Turkish Foreign Minister to discuss it.

Jeremy Hunt has stressed that that more efforts are needed and expected towards establishing the truth in a comprehensive, transparent and credible manner. The investigation needs to be carried out thoroughly until responsibilities are clearly established and there is proper accountability and due process for any crimes committed. I am assured that the UK Government remain in close contact with international partners, as well as the Saudi Government in that regard.

The Government is already looking at responses to this incident and the Prime Minister has announced that we will be taking action against all suspects to prevent them from entering the UK, or to revoke any existing visas. The UK also chose not to send any minister or official to the Riyadh investment conference.

Ultimately, the action that Britain takes will depend on two things: the credibility of the further explanation the Government receives about what happened and its confidence that such a shameful event cannot and will not ever be repeated.

As you will know, we have an important strategic partnership with Saudi Arabia, which has saved lives on the streets of Britain. We also have a trading partnership that supports thousands of jobs.

However, if the appalling stories we are reading turn out to be true, then they are fundamentally incompatible with our values and I am pleased that the Foreign Secretary has assured the House of Commons that, in that event, the Government will act accordingly.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.