Cameron and the king
David Cameron speaks at Downing Street with Saudi Arabia's king Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud when he was defence minister in 2012Getty

There are calls for the British government to clarify its role in voting Saudi Arabia onto the UN Human Rights Council.

The leaders of the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats have called for a full response to last year's leak of diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks which purported to show the UK was involved in a secret vote-trading deal to make sure both countries got a place on the panel.

As the kingdom faces vehement criticism over the execution of 47 people on a single day, Greens' leader, Natalie Bennett, said the Saudi kingdom's role on the UN council was "one of many issues raised by the mass executions".

She told The Independent that the government should launch an inquiry to establish who made the decision to "so abuse the UN process and the principle of universal human rights".

"And the government must immediately suspend exports of arms to Saudi Arabia, and strengthen its currently extremely weak diplomatic response," she added.

There has been growing criticism over the response of David Cameron to the weekend's executions and the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom has been a controversial one.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron told the newspaper: "It is time the Prime Minister came clean about whether the Government supported Saudi Arabia's election to the UN Human Rights Council."

The Wikileaks' revelations related to the November 2013 vote in New York, were published by The Australian newspaper and have never been commented on by UK officials.

Both Britain and Saudi Arabia were later named among the 47 member states of the UNHRC, following the secret ballot.

An FCO spokesman said: "Saudi Arabia took part in an uncontested election for a seat as one of the Asian Group members in the UN's Human Rights Council.

"So while the UK never publicises how it votes, this was not a contested election within the Asian Group and the UK's vote was immaterial."