Russian spy: Row over Jeremy Corbyn’s response to May statement

Latest news

    Jeremy Corbyn

    A row has erupted over Jeremy Corbyn’s response to Theresa May’s latest statement on the poisoning of a former Russian spy.

    He said the attack had “appalled the country” and urged decisive action after the PM told the Commons it was “highly likely ” Russia was to blame.

    But the Labour leader also criticised the Conservatives for accepting donations from “Russian oligarchs”.

    Tory MPs accused him of trying to score political points.

    Some Labour MPs also suggested he had misjudged his response, urging MPs on all sides to get behind Theresa May.

    Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia remain in a critical condition in hospital following the attack in Salisbury on 4 March.

    Mr Corbyn told MPs: “We need to continue seeking a robust dialogue with Russia on all the issues dividing our countries, both domestic and international – rather than simply cutting off contact and simply letting tensions and divisions get worse, and potentially even more dangerous.”

    To cries of “shame” and “disgrace” from Conservative MPs, he added: “We’re all familiar with the way huge fortunes, often acquired in the most dubious circumstances in Russia, sometimes connected with criminal elements, have ended up sheltering in London and trying to buy political influence in British party politics.

    “Meddling in elections, as the prime minister put it, and there has been over £800,000 worth of donations to the Conservative Party from Russian oligarchs and their associates.”

    In her reply, the prime minister said people should not “tar with the same brush” everyone of “Russian extraction” in the UK, and insisted her party complied with donation rules.

    Media playback is unsupported on your device

    Media captionTheresa May: Spy poisoned by “military-grade nerve agent”

    Mr Corbyn also claimed the government was resisting Labour’s amendments to the Sanctions and Money Laundering Bill, currently progressing through the House of Lords.

    But critics picked up on his call for “dialogue” with Russia and his criticism of Tory donations.

    Conservative MP Johnny Mercer said: “I think I’ve just seen – and I look at my honourable friend opposite as I say this – the most shameful moment in this House of Commons in my time to date.”

    Labour former minister Chris Leslie – a party “moderate” who has criticised Mr Corbyn in the past – told MPs: “There are certain circumstances, as (Mrs May) knows, that we take party political differences of opinion.

    “But when our country is potentially under attack, that is just not appropriate.”

    Fellow Labour MP John Woodcock, another Corbyn critic, drew cheers from the Tory benches after praising Mrs May’s response.

    He said: “It would put our national security at significant risk if we were led by anyone who did not understand the gravity of the threat which Russia poses to this nation.”

    Labour chair of the home affairs committee Yvette Cooper called for the “whole House” to “come together behind” the prime minister, to cries of “hear hear” from the Labour MPs around her.

    On Twitter, Mrs May’s chief of staff, Gavin Barwell, contrasted Mr Corbyn’s response to that of Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who said: “Cool heads certainly required but also a firm response.

    “Russia simply cannot be allowed to launch attacks on our streets with impunity.”

    View the original article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-43380217

    But supporters of Mr Corbyn, and some right-leaning commentators, defended his comments on Twitter, saying it was legitimate to raise the issue of Conservative donations, as it exposed the party’s hypocrisy on the issue of Russian finance.

    In the same category are

    Girlguiding says girls not at risk from trans inclusion Image copyright Getty Images Girlguiding has defended its decision to allow transgender members and leaders - after it expelled two volunteers who o...
    The Papers: More green, less greed, says Corbyn By BBC News Staff Image caption The Guardian reports how Jeremy Corbyn will attack "greed-is-good" capitalism in his closing speech at his party...
    Hibernian v Aberdeen: Dons win penalty shoot-out to reach last four Hibernian's Thomas Agyepong's (right) missed from the spot as Aberdeen reached their fourth League Cup semi-final in six yearsThomas Agyepong missed ...
    Afghanistan v India: Asia Cup match ends in tie Afghanistan players celebrated the wicket of Jadeja as though they had won the matchAsia Cup, DubaiAfghanistan 252-8 (50 overs): Shahzad 124, Nabi 64...
    Oxford United 0-3 Manchester City: Carabao Cup holders see off League One strugglers Phil Foden is the first player born this millennium to score a competitive goal for Manchester CityManchester City's Phil Foden produced a masterclas...
    Roman Abramovich was deemed potential ‘security threat’ by Swiss police Image copyright EPA Image caption Roman Abramovich had wished to settle in the Swiss resort of Verbier The Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich wa...

    Leave a comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.