Senior Tory MP says government 'hasn't done enough' to condemn Russia

22 August 2020, 11:29

Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

A senior Conservative MP and chair of the foreign affairs select committee has criticised the British Government for failing to properly condemn the "mafia regime" in Russia.

Tom Tugendhat said the Foreign Office has been too slow to condemn Putin and his government over incidents such as the Salisbury poisonings and attempt assassinations of world leaders.

He told LBC: "We need to do more - standing up for own rights in this matter, standing up for the preedom of the press and standing up against manipulation is not just some esoteric game about protecting a process, it's about protecting the freedoms of the British people.

He added: "The Foreign Office is always slightly concerned about the idea of naming things when they're not absolutely certain.

"I think they're being overcautious and I think what we should be seeing instead is the British people being able to rely on the Foreign Office to be much clearly and much stronger, much earlier."

Tom Tugendhat has criticised the British Government for failing to properly condemn the "mafia regime" in Russia.
Tom Tugendhat has criticised the British Government for failing to properly condemn the "mafia regime" in Russia. Picture: LBC/PA Images

Presenter Matt Frei questioned whether Prime Minister Boris Johnson was "pulling punches" over Russia's alleged interference in the UK's democratic elections - and particularly the EU Referendum in 2016 - due to fears it could undermine the result.

Mr Tugendhat dismissed the idea and said it was more about the British Government being overly cautious in its approach to avoid diplomatic disputes.

It follows the alleged poisoning of Russia's leading opposition politician Alexei Navalny, who was hospitalised earlier this week and is being taken to Germany for tests.