WATCH: Gavin Williamson tells Russia to 'go away and shut up' after Salisbury attack
Gavin Williamson has told the Russian government to “go away and shut up” following the nerve agent attack on a Russian former spy in Salisbury.
The Defence Secretary hit out at the Kremlin after Theresa May declared yesterday that Moscow was responsible for the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.
Mr Williamson's words are symptomatic of a decline in the already fractious relationship between the governments.
His remarks came after the Prime Minister announced the expulsion from the UK of 23 diplomats she described as "undeclared intelligence officers".
Mrs May told MPs British officials and members of the Royal Family would also be boycotting the forthcoming football World Cup this summer.
Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has accused the Government of engaging in a "political performance" without presenting any "concrete facts" about the case.
But in a speech this morning, Mr Williamson suggested there should be a period of silence from Moscow.
He said: "We will look at how Russia responds to what we have done, it is absolutely atrocious and outrageous what Russia did in Salisbury...Russia should go away, it should shut up, but if they do respond to the action we have taken we'll consider it carefully."
Mr Williamson stressed the UK would not "rush" into any drastic measures against Vladimir Putin's government.
"We have to be very careful in terms of the actions we take, they've got to be thoughtful and they've got to be calibrated and ultimately they've got to have effect against Russia....I don't think what we should be doing is we should be rushing to do too much too rapidly.
"We've got to make sure that everything we do is so incredibly considered and has a real impact and effect on those people at the top of the Russian regime that have decided to do this nation harm and to act in such an irresponsible and dangerous manner."
Meanwhile, Downing Street has revealed Theresa May will meet members of the public and emergency services in Salisbury today