Salisbury Incident

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:42 pm on 12th September 2018.

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Photo of Ben Wallace Ben Wallace Minister of State (Home Office) (Security) 1:42 pm, 12th September 2018

I read the BuzzFeed allegations about the 14 deaths that that report viewed as suspicious. We have re-examined those cases, with other people looking at them—rather than only the officers who initially did the investigations, we have peer-group looked at them—and I have tested the assurances that I have had. In those cases, the investigations themselves did not throw up anything that would currently lead us to be suspicious. At the same time, the investigations and actions were done properly. That does not detract from the fact that Russia clearly uses lethal force where it chooses and that that must be challenged where we find it.

The important thing to tell the House is that, having visited the investigation a number of times, I believe that it is absolutely clear that the United Kingdom is in a unique position to solve this issue. We used a network of expert police officers from the local forces of many Members present today. It was incredibly refreshing to visit the investigation and find police officers from Devon and Cornwall and from all over the country. We have used the counter-terrorism network to share our knowledge and expertise. I met officers who had worked on the Litvinenko case. Britain has a real depth of experience of investigations of this type, and we have some of the best people in the world with some of the best equipment in the world. I can reassure colleagues that, although this attack was horrendous, we should be really proud of what our police and intelligence services have achieved, and that has been built on successive Governments’ investment in those organisations and the fact that, fundamentally, we do learn lessons from our past mistakes. Good organisations do that.