That time Michael Gove took on Saudi Arabia and was an unlikely human rights hero

It's safe to say there aren't many issues Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, justice secretary Michael Gove and Ukip MP Douglas Carswell wholeheartedly agree on.

Fortunately, opposing a Ministry of Justice contract to run services in Saudi Arabian prisons turned out to be one of them.

Downing Street confirmed on Tuesday that the £5.9m deal to provide development programmes in the Saudi prison system had been scrapped.

There had been opposition to the commercial venture from the get-go because of Saudi Arabia's appalling human rights record and excessively cruel penal system.

Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, who was a teenager at the time of his alleged crimes, is facing crucifixion for participating in Arab Spring protests in 2011

Adultery is punishable by death in the country, and it emerged today that a British 74-year-old had been sentenced to 350 lashes for possessing homemade wine in the boot of his car.

It was widely reported on Tuesday that Gove had wanted to scrap the prisons service deal for some time but was under pressure not to do so from other ministers, including foreign secretary Phillip Hammond, who is reportedly worried about the diplomatic fallout now the British government has cancelled the deal.

Newly-elected Labour leader Corbyn has repeatedly called on the prime minister to reevaluate Britain's cosy relationship with Saudi Arabia, particularly in the face of the country's decision to behead and crucify a man arrested as a 17-year-old.

The opposition leader was pleased to note that the contract has been shelved:

And the sentiment was echoed across the political spectrum.

It's worth noting that Gove, who moved over to the Ministry of Justice following the Tory election victory in May, has not ruled out abolishing the Human Rights Act in the UK.

But at least he's on the right side of history in this instance.

More: Jeremy Corbyn has a message for David Cameron: Stop Saudi Arabia from crucifying a man arrested as a teenager

More: The two photos which show the problem with how we treat Saudi Arabia and human rights

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