Prime minister Boris Johnson has been accused of ‘prostituting himself’ to Russians to get donations for the Conservative Party.
Former Labour minister Lord Rooker made the claim in a House of Lords debate on the relationship between the UK and Russia.
The government said the value of business between the two countries amounted to £15.8 billion over the last year – with UK exports of £5.9 billion and Russian imports of £9.9 billion.
Questioning a trade minister, he asked: ‘Will those figures be improved by the prime minister prostituting himself and his office in the interests of getting Russian money through the London laundromat into Tory party funds?’
Refuting the suggestion, Lord Grimstone of Boscobel told the Lords: ‘Let me make it quite clear that money obtained through criminality or corruption is not welcome in the UK.
Have your say
Send your letters for publication to The New European by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and pick up an edition each Thursday for more comment and analysis. Find your nearest stockist here or subscribe to a print or digital edition for just £13. You can also join our readers' Facebook group to keep the discussion and debate going with thousands of fellow pro-Europeans.
‘We have long recognised the corrosive risk of dirty money, including from Russia, being laundered in the UK. We continue to bring the full capabilities of law enforcement to bear against serious criminals, corrupt elites and their assets.’
But Lord Foulkes of Cumnock said that the questions had not been answered by the minister.
‘Does he accept that our trade negotiations with Russia are being compromised because of a total of £3.5 million in donations to the Tory party and payments to 14 government ministers from Russian sources?’
But the minister dismissed the suggestion. He replied: ‘I thought that I had made it clear that there are no trade negotiations going on at the moment with Russia. I resent the assumption that Ministers would in any way be influenced by the matters to which the noble Lord refers.’
Earlier this year it was revealed the wife of a former close ally to Vladimir Putin paid £90,000 for a game of tennis with Boris Johnson, having previously paid for a £160,000 tennis match with Johnson and then prime minister David Cameron back in 2014.