Ian Blackford – 2018 Response to the Salisbury Attack Statement

Below is the text of the speech made by Ian Blackford, the SNP MP for Ross. Skye and Lochaber, in the House of Commons on 14 March 2018.

Let me thank the Prime Minister for advance sight of her statement.

As the Prime Minister has said, the attack on Mr Skripal and his daughter was an unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the United Kingdom. There has to be a robust response to the use of terror on our streets. We must act in a measured way to show that we will simply not tolerate this behaviour. In that regard, I welcome, and associate those of us on the Scottish National party Benches with, the measures contained in the statement. On this matter, I commit my party to working constructively with the Government.

I am sure that the House will join me in extending thanks to the members of the police and security services who are working around the clock on the recent case in Salisbury. It has been warming to see our closest friends ​and allies across Europe expressing solidarity and support. Our friends globally must join with us by standing up to this abuse of state power by Russia. I look forward to the discussions in the United Nations, which must speak with a clear and unambiguous voice.

The fact that we are expelling the largest number of undeclared intelligence officers in over 30 years is welcome, as is the desire to examine what can be done from a legislative perspective to defend against hostile state activity. As someone who has previously supported so-called Magnitsky measures, I am pleased that the Government are signalling action in this area. Let me commend the actions of Bill Browder—I have had the opportunity to meet him—who has personally been at massive risk, but has stood up to the effects of Russian state power.

Financial sanctions are welcome, and we must redouble our efforts against any money laundering by those responsible. It must be made clear to the Russian authorities that we will not tolerate activities that infringe international law. While we support the PM’s actions, we will continue to scrutinise them carefully, and we must ensure that any proposed legislation is properly scrutinised.

Our thoughts are with those in Russia who have suffered due to the abuse of state power. There is no doubt that that is what we are seeing. In doing so, we look forward to a time when we can engage positively, and to a time of peace and co-operation, but the only response today must be a robust one towards the Kremlin and Russia.