Theresa May visits Salisbury in wake of poison attack on Russian ex-spy

Posted On: 
15th March 2018

Theresa May will meet members of the public and emergency services in Salisbury today, nearly two weeks after the nerve gas attack in the city which left a Russian ex-spy and his daughter in hospital.

Theresa May has accused Russia of the potentially deadly chemical attack
PA Images

The Prime Minister will receive a briefing from Public Health England on the latest assessment of the risk in the wake of the poisoning, Downing Street said.

Meanwhile Home Secretary Amber Rudd will chair a meeting of the emergency Cobra committee, and Environment Secretary Michael Gove will lead a cross-governmental meeting on the UK response.

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Former double agent Sergei Skripal, his daughter Yulia and a police officer remain in hospital after the potentially deadly chemical attack.

Yesterday the Prime Minister said there was no “alternative conclusion” to the attack other than that the Russian state was behind it.

She expelled 23 Russian diplomats thought to be spies from the UK - giving them a week to get out of the country.

Global leaders - including US president Donald Trump - have backed Mrs May, but there was a wobble from president Emmanuel Macron when France said more evidence was needed before Russia could be accused.

A spokesman for the French government said yesterday: “We don't do fantasy politics. Once the elements are proven, then the time will come for decisions to be made.”

But in a call with the Prime Minister today Mr Macron said he “completely shares the UK’s assessment that there is no plausible explanation other than that Russia was responsible for the attack,” according to Downing Street.

“He once again expressed his full support for the UK as a close and strong ally,” a readout of the call said.

Asked if she was confident Mr Macron was on side, a spokesman for the Prime Minister said: “He along with other European allies have been steadfast in their support.”

Russia has vowed to expel a number of British diplomats in the country in response to the actions announced by Mrs May yesterday.