Former Labour frontbencher under fire over Tory ‘nerve gas killers’ tweet
Former Labour frontbencher Paul Flynn has come under fire over a tweet in which he said the Conservatives were sponsored by “nerve gas killers".
The Newport West MP made the remark after questions were raised over donations made to the Tory party by wealthy Russian backers in the wake of the poisoning of Sergei Skripal.
The former spy and his daughter Yulia were hospitalised after being exposed to a nerve agent in Salisbury last weekend
An investigation by the Sunday Times has found that rich Russians have given the Tories more than £820,000 since Theresa May took over as Prime Minister.
Tweeting in response today, Mr Flynn - who previously served as Shadow Leader of the Commons - wrote: “Conservative Party-officially sponsored by NERVE GAS KILLERS R US”."
He later deleted the post but not before it had prompted a social media backlash.
Tory chairman Brandon Lewis later called for him to apologise and make a donation to charity – a reference to Tory MP Ben Bradley who was forced to do so after making false claims about Jeremy Corbyn.
Today Philip Hammond rejected suggestions the Conservatives should hand back the hundreds of thousands of pounds in donations from Russian oligarchs.
The Chancellor insisted all the donations were taken and recorded properly under Electoral Commission rules.
Universities Minister Sam Gyimah also piled in to defended the funds, telling Sky News: “The Conservative party has not accepted money from the Kremlin.”
He added: “There is very careful vetting that takes place of donors but we also have very strict legal rules around donations to political parties in this country and obviously every donation has got to satisfy both tests.”
Theresa May has said if the Russian state is implicated in the Skripal incident the UK will take the “necessary action” in response.