A delicate negotiation to sell UK-built fighter jets to Saudi Arabia could be at risk after the Saudi ambassador attacked Britain for cancelling a prison contract over criticism of Riyadh’s human rights record.

In a rare public intervention, Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz said that “if the extensive trade links between the two countries are going to be subordinate to certain political ideologies, then this vital commercial exchange is going to be at risk”.

Last week the UK Ministry of Justice pulled out of negotiations over a £5.9m prisons training contract. The move followed a personal plea from Labour opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn to the prime minister to scrap the deal after the Saudis sentenced a 17-year-old Shia protester to death by beheading. […]