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 Stuart McDonald Stuart McDonald Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Immigration, Asylum and Border Control) 11:43 am, 21st January 2016

I, too, thank the Home Secretary for her statement. I pay tribute to Sir Robert Owen and his inquiry team for their work, and indeed to all those who have contributed to getting to the truth. All Members will share a sense of outrage at this cowardly and awful murder, and we again express our condolences to Mr Litvinenko’s family. As the Secretary of State has said, the apparent involvement of the Russian state at the very highest level makes this murder doubly shocking.

It will clearly take some time fully to digest all the findings and recommendations of the report and to think through its implications, but some initial questions arise. Most immediately, we need to know what more, if anything, can be done to bring Mr Litvinenko’s killers to justice. We welcome the action against Mr Kovtun and Mr Lugovoy announced today, and the request made to the Director of Public Prosecutions. However, what, if any, further options are being considered? Will we hear from the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs about what he believes to be the appropriate response?

To look back at the circumstances of the murder, will the Home Secretary say what, if any, information our security and intelligence services had about Mr Kovtun and Mr Lugovoy prior to their meeting with Mr Litvinenko? Were they aware that the meeting was taking place, and had they assessed whether it represented a risk to his life? Most importantly, what do we know about how the killers were able to acquire such a significant dose of radioactive polonium and use it in this country as a weapon? Finally, what more can be done to prevent any such awful event from happening again in future? Has any assessment been made of the risk to those who have fled regimes and sought shelter in the UK, so that we can prevent such attacks from happening again?