Incident in Salisbury - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 12:36 pm on 8th March 2018.

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Photo of Lord Kennedy of Southwark Lord Kennedy of Southwark Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Shadow Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government), Shadow Spokesperson (Housing) 12:36 pm, 8th March 2018

My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Williams of Trafford, for repeating the Statement given by the Home Secretary in the other place earlier today. I join with the noble Baroness in paying tribute to the continued professionalism, dedication and courage of our emergency services. They handled the incident with their usual dedication and, as she said, with their sense of public duty, putting themselves at risk to protect the public.

The two individuals, who we now believe to be Sergei and Yulia Skripal, are, as have heard, in a critical but stable condition. The police officer who was also taken seriously ill in the line of duty is conscious and talking, and we all know that the staff of the NHS treating the three individuals will do everything possible to help them. We hope they all make a recovery and our thoughts and prayers are with all their families and friends at this terrible time.

The investigation is, as we have heard, under the control of the Metropolitan Police counterterrorism policing network. The safety of the public must be the number one priority for the Government. We fully support them, the police and the other agencies in what they are doing to keep us all safe. This crime is an outrageous act committed on British soil and we all condemn it. I entirely accept that we must always avoid unhelpful speculation, and that a thorough investigation is the only way to get to the truth and bring the perpetrators to justice. If the Minister could comment on and confirm the determination of the Government to do just that, we on this side of the House will fully support them in that aim.

I again express my thanks to all the dedicated professionals in the police and other emergency services, and the staff in the hospital taking care of the three victims. Time and time again, our emergency service workers go beyond the call of duty to help others and this is another example of the great debt we owe them. I am sure the Minister will keep the House further informed, if she can, in this fast-moving investigation.