Last week’s poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter has shocked the country and caused widespread disruption in Salisbury.
Sergei Skripal was out with his daughter Yulia last Sunday afternoon, when they were targeted with a nerve agent.
The pair and a policeman, who came into contact with them, have all been seriously injured. But whilst the police officer’s condition has improved, both Mr Skripal and his daughter remain critically ill in hospital. Many other members of the public have received medical treatment.
The poisoning of this former double agent has turned the quiet cathedral city of Salisbury into a crime scene. Hundreds of police and military personnel are in the town, many wearing protective clothing.
Mr Skripal’s house, the restaurant the pair ate in, the pub they went to, the bench they were found on and other parts of the area, have been sealed off as traces of nerve agent have been identified.
Over a week later, investigators are still trying to understand why and how the pair were poisoned. Although authorities have said there is a low risk to the public, people who were in the same locations as Mr Skripal and his daughter have been given advice on how to clean their belongings.
On Monday in the House of Commons, Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed the pair had been poisoned with military grade nerve agent, a type developed by Russians, known as Novichok and that it is ‘highly likely’ Russia is responsible.
Mrs May called on the Russian Government to explain how this attack could have happened and if there is no clear explanation, this poisoning would amount to the ‘unlawful use of force by the Russian State against the United Kingdom’.
I welcome Mrs May’s robust response to this incident. Russia is rapidly becoming a rogue nation and its unsurprising they continue to deny any involvement. In recent years Russia has denied its plan to annexe the Crimea, its part in the Olympic doping scandal and the rigging of Putin’s next election. This is not the first time Russia has tried to kill someone they don’t like in Britain.
Theresa May cannot stand by and simply allow this kind of thing to happen. Members of Parliament must now stand together collectively to take firm action to show Russia this kind of attack on British soil will not be tolerated.