Earlier, Sir Alan Duncan described the executions of 37 men as “a deeply backward step” by the Saudi government

Responding to an urgent question in the Commons from Sir Vince Cable, he said: “We really do genuinely disapprove in the strongest possible terms what has happened, particularly when it was reported that one of them was displayed on a cross, something that anyone here just a few days after Easter would find more repulsive.”

He said the government is working to establish the full facts and the foreign secretary will be raising this with the Saudi authorities at the earliest opportunity.

British embassy representatives in Riyadh made representations last November on specific individuals, Sir Alan told MPs, adding: “One of the grave concerns about these executions is that it would appear to include minors or those who were minors at the time that the charges were made. This, of course, is totally unacceptable and we do deplore it.”

The UK, he said, had “put our name fully” to the EU’s European External Action Service’s “very, very strong statement of condemnation pointing out that these executions are a regressive step”.

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