The Welsh government has confirmed it is reviewing its policy on lowering flags to half-mast following the row over the death of the Saudi king.

In a letter to campaign group Republic, which attacked the decision by UK governments to lower flags to half mast, the Welsh authorities stated:

"the Welsh Government practice on flying flags at half mast in the event of the death of a foreign head of state, had been to follow the advice of the UK Government, reflecting the fact that foreign affairs is non-devolved. The guidance is now under review."

According to documents released to Republic under freedom of information rules the official policy doesn't say that flags must be flown at half mast.  The decision in Wales to lower flags in response to the Saudi king's death followed a request from the Westminster government.

Republic's CEO, Graham Smith, said today:

"We welcome the decision by the Welsh administration to review this policy.  Lowering flags to mark the death of dictators who are engaged in oppression, torture and murder is simply unacceptable."

"We are asking the Westminster government to come clean over who took the decision to request flags be lowered.  Initial reports that the decision came from the palace need to be clarified."

"The decision to lower flags in response to the Saudi king's death was deeply offensive to a lot of people in this country.  It reflected badly on Britain and was likely the result of pressure from the royal household."

"The royals have a long-standing friendship with the Saudi dictators, one that calls into question their own judgement and character.  That the royal household might be insisting that Britain shows deference to these people is troubling."

"The Scottish government rightly declined to lower their flags and we applaud them for placing human rights above antiquated protocol.  We now hope that all UK authorities follow the Welsh example and that all such reviews conclude that flags should not be lowered for dictators and those who deny people their most basic rights."

The related documents can be found at