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Corbyn infuriates Labour MPs with Russia response

By Greg Heffer, Political Reporter
Jeremy Corbyn has come under fire from his own MPs over his response to the Prime Minister's assertion it is "highly likely" Russia was responsible for the Salisbury nerve agent attack.
After Theresa May pointed the finger of blame at Moscow for the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, the Labour leader was met with shouting from MPs as he was accused of party political point-scoring.Mr Corbyn, responding to the Prime Minister in the House of Commons, called for a "decisive and proportionate" response once an investigation by counter-terror officers in Salisbury has been completed.He added this should be "focused on reducing conflicts and tensions rather than increasing them", telling MPs: "Let us do all we can to ensure this never, ever happens again."Earlier, the Prime Minister promised to return to the House of Commons this week to update MPs on Britain's response to the attack, once the Russian government has provided its response by the end of Tuesday.
Corbyn infuriates Labour MPs with Russia response

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Deadline for Russia - PM's full statement
However, Mr Corbyn appeared to suggest the UK's response should not include the cutting off of diplomatic ties with Moscow."We need to continue seeking a robust dialogue with Russia on all the issues currently dividing our countries, both domestic and international, rather than simply cutting off contact and letting the tensions and divisions get worse and, potentially, even more dangerous," he said.Mr Corbyn prompted more controversy when he highlighted Russian-linked donations to the Conservative Party, as revealed by the Sunday Times at the weekend.He said: "We're all familiar with the way huge fortunes, often acquired in the most dubious circumstances in Russia, sometimes connected to criminal elements, have ended up sheltering in London and trying to buy political influence in British party politics."There have been over €800,000 worth of donations to the Conservative Party from Russian oligarchs and their associates."
Corbyn infuriates Labour MPs with Russia response

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Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in Salisbury
The remarks were met with shouts of "you are a disgrace" from the Conservative benches, while Mr Corbyn also faced calls of "shame" as he sat down at the end of his comments to MPs.The Labour leader also challenged the Prime Minister to back proposed Labour changes to legislation currently going through Parliament, which could give Britain so-called "Magnitsky" powers to sanction foreign officials.
Later, as backbench MPs asked the Prime Minister questions about her statement, the Labour leader came under attack from those critics within his own party.Ex-Labour shadow chancellor Chris Leslie insisted it is "just not appropriate" to take "party political differences" when "our country is potentially under attack".His Labour colleague Mike Gapes notably declared "all MPs must stand together", as he branded the Salisbury poisoning "an act of terrorism".Former chief secretary to the treasury Liam Byrne also resisted party politics to pointedly present a message of unity.He said: "The Prime Minister should know that if by Wednesday she concludes we are indeed embattled, she'll find both unity and resolve across this House in facing down a common threat."And former shadow transport minister John Woodcock, who has previously stated he could not support Mr Corbyn as prime minister, appeared to suggest the Labour leader in Number 10 would threaten the UK's national security.He said: "The level of resilience voiced by the Prime Minister in the chamber today has been many years in coming but it is hugely welcome."Indeed, it would put our national security at significant risk if we were led by anyone who did not understand the gravity of the threat which Russia poses to this nation."Tory MPs also provided a robust response to Mr Corbyn's comments.
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Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith praised Mrs May for "rising to this occasion" and added many MPs wished Jeremy Corbyn had "abandoned party politics and done just the same" with his response.Fellow Tory Johnny Mercer, calling out Mr Corbyn, described how he had "just seen the most shameful moment I have seen in the House of Commons in my time to date."
news.sky.com
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