At PMQs Boris Johnson claimed that Keir Starmer ‘sat on his hands’ and ‘said nothing’ about Russia, but a video has disproved those claims about the leader of the opposition.
In the House of Commons the prime minister insisted he took ‘the strongest possible action’ against Russia when he was foreign secretary, as he failed to explain to Sir Keir Starmer why the report into Russian interference faced so many delays.
He added: ‘(Sir Keir) sat on his hands and said nothing while the Labour Party parroted the line of the Kremlin when people in this country were poisoned at the orders of Vladimir Putin.’
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Sir Keir replied: ‘I stood up and condemned what happened in Salisbury and… I supported then-prime minister (Theresa May) on record, so I’d ask the prime minister to check the record.’
But Johnson continued: ‘I do not wish to contradict him, but he sat on his hands and said nothing. The previous leader of the opposition parroted the line of the Kremlin that the UK should supply… I did not hear him criticise the previous leader of the opposition’.
In a strong defence against Johnson’s claims the Labour leader said that he was ‘absolutely clear’ in condemning Russian aggression in Salisbury, adding he was previously involved in bringing proceedings against Russia on behalf of the family of poisoning victim Alexander Litvinenko.
Now a video has resurfaced of Keir Starmer appearing on Question Time days after the Salisbury attack, where he said ‘deserves to be condemned by all of us without reservation – without reservation’.
His comments were seen as a disagreement with the then-opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn as he supported Theresa May when she said she had come to the conclusion that the Russian state was responsible and Putin had failed to answer questions from London on the attack.
He said: ‘That is the right conclusion, and for that reason, I think it is very important that we support the action the prime minister laid out on Wednesday.’
Starmer said it was not the first time that Russia had attempted an assassination plot on UK soil.
He said: ‘This is not the first time. It needs to be called out with no ifs and no buts, and we need strong action, as set out by the prime minister on Wednesday.’