Former minister calls on Theresa May to break off diplomatic ties with Russia over spy attack

Posted On: 
8th March 2018

Theresa May has been urged to break off diplomatic ties with Russia by a former Tory minister in the wake of the nerve agent attack which has left a former spy critically ill.

Police outside the Zizzi restaurant in Salisbury near to where former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal was found critically ill.
PA Images

Nick Boles hit out after it emerged that a police officer has also been hospitalised after going to the aid of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia.

The pair were found unconscious on a shopping centre bench in Salisbury, Wiltshire, on Sunday.

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Police have said they are treating the incident as attempted murder.

Mr Skripal was granted refuge in Britain eight years ago as part of a "spy swap" with Russia - who have denied any involvement in the incident.

But Mr Boles, who was a minister in David Cameron's government, said Mrs May should take retaliatory action against Vladimir Putin's regime.

Labour MP Chris Bryant told The Times: "Ministers must be thinking about when to call in the Russian ambassador now. Questions which may have been premature are no longer so now. How did this nerve agent enter the country, did it arrive in a diplomatic bag, can we be sure there is none left?”

Meanwhile Commons Foreign Affairs committee boss Tom Tugendhat suggested ministers target wealthy London-based Russians who have strong ties to the Kremlin.

He said the Government should look into probes on unexplained wealth, while their children could be thrown out of Britain’s elite public schools.

“We’ve got to deal with the new Russian aristocracy around the Tsar,” he told The Sun.

“Putin needs to keep them loyal, and we need to show that his wilful disregard of the world’s rules will always be firmly punished.

“Many of Putin’s friends enjoy the liberties and luxury of London.

“We can use the usual sanctions we use for crooks to make life uncomfortable for them, and also by ensuring their children don’t get the opportunity that Putin is denying to those he murders.”

Home Secretary Amber Rudd is scheduled to make an urgent Commons statement updating MPs on the investigation today.