Jeremy Corbyn has been branded a threat to national security by one of his own MPs after he responded to the Prime Minister’s statement linking Russia to the Salisbury attack by calling for “dialogue” with Moscow.
John Woodcock told the House of Commons “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”.
Mr Corbyn said: “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.”
He faced shouts of “shame” and “disgrace” from Conservative MPs as he told the Commons: “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.”
Mrs May said all contributions to the Tories were subject to electoral laws preventing foreign donations, and told Mr Corbyn: “I think nobody in this House should be in any doubt that there can be no suggestion of business as usual in relation to our interaction with Russia.”
MPs called on Mrs May to consider banning Russian state broadcaster Russia Today from the UK, which she said was a matter for the regulator Ofcom.
Asked whether it was appropriate for Alex Salmond to continue producing a programme for Russia Today, the SNP provided a comment from their foreign affairs spokesman at Westminster, Stephen Gethins, who said: “I do not think it is right for MPs to go on Russia Today and take a payment for doing so – and that is something that sitting parliamentarians should think on.”