Debate over PM's Saudi Arabia trip
The Prince of Wales and David Cameron have visited Saudi Arabia to pay their respects following the death of King Abdullah amid fresh condemnation of the country's human rights record.
The Prime Minister was among a series of world leaders who travelled to the country, but his presence was attacked by critics of the Saudi administration.
France's president Francois Hollande was among those in Riyadh, while the US president Barack Obama will cut short a visit to India to travel to Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.
Abdullah died aged 90 on Thursday after two decades in power in the world's biggest oil exporter. He has been succeeded by his 79-year-old half-brother, Salman.
Senior Tory MP Sarah Wollaston and her former colleague in the Commons Louise Mensch launched fresh attacks on Mr Cameron over the Government's response to the death of Abdullah and his succession by King Salman.
Ex-MP Mrs Mensch condemned the decision by the Prince and Mr Cameron to travel to Riyadh and compared the Saudi regime to Islamic State (IS), the terrorist group also known as Isis.
"I'm disgusted and revolted, as I think most people in the UK are, having watched our national flag be lowered in respect for a tyrant whom we regard as something less than we find scraped on the base of our shoes," the former Conservative MP said.
"When David Cameron and Prince Charles go to represent the United Kingdom they don't go in my name.
"They are spitting on women, they are spitting on gay people, they are spitting on freedom of expression."
Appearing alongside Mrs Mensch on BBC Radio 4's PM programme, Labour former Middle East minister Kim Howells said maintaining good relations with Riyadh was an exercise in "realpolitik" because of the country's strategic importance.
He said: "Riyadh has a very, very dismal human rights record and continues to show no real concern for human rights.
"But that's the reality, I'm afraid, of Middle East politics at the moment and the idea that you can simply ignore Saudi Arabia and hope that it goes away is a nonsense, you can't do that."
Responding to the video purporting to show that a Japanese hostage had been beheaded by IS, he added: "That nihilistic organisation, Isis, is worse than anything that comes out of Riyadh."
But Mrs Mensch said: "You say Isis are worse, they most certainly are not. We have just seen hostages beheaded, well just last week (in Saudi Arabia) a woman was dragged into a public parking lot and was held down by four men and beheaded after an unfair trial. There is no difference between them."
She added: "I hope this will mark a turning point where we no longer allow the Foreign Office to go and be lickspittles to foreign dictators and pretend that the British people give their consent. They do not."
The decision to fly flags at half mast over public buildings in London to mark Abdullah's death attracted continued criticism over Saudi Arabia's abuses of free speech, women's rights and the country's role as cradle of Islamist extremism.
Senior Tory MP Sarah Wollaston told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I think the gesture was inappropriate given the human rights record in Saudi Arabia."
In his message of condolence, Mr Cameron said Abdullah would be remembered for his "commitment to peace and for strengthening understanding between faiths".
But Dr Wollaston said: "I think that will ring rather hollow for anyone who, for example, wanted to convert to Christianity or even carry a bible in Saudi Arabia."
On Twitter she added: "Flying the Union Flag at half mast is hugely symbolic. #NotInMyName given the appalling human rights abuses in Saudi.
"Half mast for all Saudi women subject to enforced subservience & infantilisation by oppressive male guardianship system.
"Half mast for all those Saudis and migrant workers publicly beheaded, stoned, subject to judicial mutilation or flogging."
But the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Rev Justin Welby, told Sky News the Prime Minister was right to send condolences to Saudi Arabia, although he called for greater religious freedom in the Kingdom.
He said: "Freedom of religion is essential and freedom to express Christian faith in Saudi Arabia is something that should happen.
"A few weeks ago there was a group of migrant workers arrested for holding a private service in a flat. That's not right.
"But I know that King Abdullah himself - it's a complicated place Saudi Arabia, like all countries - King Abdullah himself is someone who has worked very, very hard on these issues and has contributed much and I think it's right that the Prime Minister should send condolences and should recognise what he's done over the years."
The leader of the Scottish Conservatives Ruth Davidson condemned the flags move as "a steaming pile of nonsense" and Ukip MP Douglas Carswell said it showed Whitehall officials held "immoral" values far from those of the British public.
Downing Street and other Whitehall departments - along with Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace - were among prominent landmarks to put Union Flags at half mast on Friday after a request was sent out by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
Westminster Abbey said not lowering its flag would have been a "noticeably aggressive comment" and would not have helped support the "desperately oppressed Christian communities of the Middle East".
When Abdullah ascended the Saudi throne in 2005, he had already been the country's de facto ruler for a decade after his predecessor and half-brother, King Fahd, was incapacitated by a stroke.
In the terms of the ultra-conservative Islamic kingdom, he was seen as a reformer, chipping away at some of the severe restrictions on women - allowing them seats on the country's top advisory council and to attend mixed sex classes at the university he founded.
However there was a limit to how far he was willing - or able - to go, and Saudi Arabia remains the only country in the world where women are not allowed to drive.
More recently, the sentencing of the blogger Raif Badawi to 1,000 lashes threw a spotlight on the kingdom's harsh laws cracking down on any dissent against the ruling family.
Western governments - including Britain - have in turn been accused of turning a blind eye to such excesses in return for lucrative arms sales and the continuing flow of Saudi oil.
King Salman promised in a nationally televised speech to continue the policies of his predecessors.
"We will continue adhering to the correct policies which Saudi Arabia has followed since its establishment," he said.