Tuesday, 13 March 2018

The Prime Minister's statement on the attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal and PC Nick Bailey

Yesterday the Prime Minister Theresa May updated the House of Commons on the steps that the Government is taking to respond to the reckless and despicable act in Salisbury last Sunday:

"It is now clear that Sergei and Yulia Skripal were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia. The Government has concluded that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible for the act against Mr Skripal and his daughter. There are therefore only two plausible explanations for what happened in Salisbury on 4th March. Either this was a direct act by the Russian State against our country, or the Russian government lost control of this potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others.

The Foreign Secretary yesterday summoned the Russian Ambassador to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and asked him to explain which of these two possibilities it is, and therefore to account for how this Russian-produced nerve agent could have been deployed in Salisbury against Mr Skripal and his daughter. He has requested the Russian Government’s response by the end of today.

We must now stand ready to take much more extensive measures against Russia. On Wednesday we will consider in detail the response from the Russian State. Should there be no credible response we will conclude that this action amounts to an unlawful use of force by the Russian State against the United Kingdom. This attempted murder using a weapons-grade nerve agent in a British town was not just a crime against the Skripals. It was an indiscriminate and reckless act against the United Kingdom, putting the lives of innocent civilians at risk."