Litvinenko Inquiry

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:43 am on 21st January 2016.

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Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Secretary of State for the Home Department 11:43 am, 21st January 2016

First, may I echo the comments made by Andy Burnham about the investigation by the Metropolitan police? As he said, it was identified by Sir Robert Owen as exemplary and, as I indicated in my statement, the investigation remains open. The right hon. Gentleman also said right at the very beginning of his comments that time needs to be taken to look at the report. It is very thorough and detailed, and he is right to say that we need to look at it carefully.

The right hon. Gentleman asked whether I would be willing to meet Marina and Anatoly Litvinenko. I wrote a private letter to Marina Litvinenko yesterday and I would be very happy to meet them to discuss these and other issues that I understand she has raised today in response to the report.

The right hon. Gentleman asked a number of other questions, including about a potential Magnitsky Act. I know that the shadow Leader of the House, Chris Bryant, who is sitting next to the right hon. Gentleman, has raised that issue in the Chamber on many occasions. There are a number of actions we can take in preventing individuals from coming to the United Kingdom, but in this case, of course, we actually want Lugovoy and Kovtun to be in the United Kingdom to be able to face justice. The right hon. Gentleman said that there were reports of them travelling. There are Interpol red notices and European arrest warrants in place, which will lead to their being arrested if they travel outside Russia.

Of course, we take the security of individuals in the United Kingdom very seriously and look at and review those issues regularly. The right hon. Gentleman said that we need to review our relationship with Russia. We have just been through the exercise of the national security strategy and the strategic defence and security review. I referred to that in my statement, and that makes very clear the issues in relation to Russia. I assure him that the Prime Minister will raise the matter with President Putin at the next available opportunity. EU sanctions are of course agreed across the European Union, and the UK has actually been leading on EU sanctions and encouraging such action to be taken.

Finally, the right hon. Gentleman commented on the importance of justice. We agree on this issue. Everybody in the House recognises the significance of this report’s findings, and the significance of the fact that this act of murder took place on the streets of London and was state-sponsored. We want to see justice for the family: we want those who undertook this murder in London to be brought to justice. That is something which we share, and we will make every effort to ensure that justice is found for Marina and Anatoly Litvinenko.