Government Confirms £2.5 Million Funding to Salisbury After Attack

David Lidington

The Government has announced that £2.5 million of funding will be provided to the city of Salisbury to help it recover from the recent attack which has been attributed to the Russians. The Government said that the Ministerial Recovery Group  had agreed to the money which will aid tourism and local businesses.

David Lidington, the Chancellor for the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, said in a statement:

“The people of Salisbury have shown great strength and resilience in the face of a cowardly and indiscriminate act. The Government is committed to supporting this historic British city as it recovers and we will continue to do everything possible to help Salisbury moving forward. The message is clear: the city is safe and its shops, restaurants and beautiful sites remain open for business”.

Money will be given to Wiltshire County Council to help fund their operations with money also being made available to local businesses and a funding package will be given to the local tourism industry.

John McDonnell Says Vladimir Putin was Responsible for Salisbury Attack

John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, has clarified Labour’s position on the Salisbury attack and said that he considers that the Russians were responsible. He also denied that Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, had a different policy and said that the Labour Party was supportive of the Government’s position.

When asked if McDonnell thought that Putin was responsible for the attack he said:

“He is responsible whichever way you look at it, he is responsible and all the evidence points to him”.

When asked if Jeremy Corbyn had a different policy and was critical of the Prime Minister, McDonnell said:

“It was a critique. It was asking questions about investment in diplomacy, it was asking questions about where you go from here in building that international coalition. That is what oppositions do and it was a constructive critique, I think others have misread that”.

Theresa May Speaks to Polish Prime Minister Over Salisbury Attack

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has spoken to Mateusz Morawiecki, the Polish Prime Minister, regarding the Salisbury attack which has been attributed to the Russians.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said:

“Today the Prime Minister called Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki to discuss the use in Salisbury of a military grade nerve agent developed by Russia. The Prime Minister said this was another example of an unacceptable pattern of aggressive Russian behaviour, and Prime Minister Morawiecki expressed his full solidarity with the UK in its response to this reckless act.

The Prime Minister thanked Prime Minister Morawiecki for his strong support and they agreed on the importance of a determined response from the European Union and the wider international community. They looked forward to meeting and holding further discussions on this matter at this week’s European Council”.

Prime Minister Talks to Malcolm Turnbull, Australian Premier, On Salisbury Attack

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has spoken to Malcolm Turnbull, the Prime Minister of Australia, by phone over the Salisbury attack, which has been attributed to the Russians. The Australian Premier gave his support to the UK and also condemned the attack which had taken place.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said:

“The Prime Minister spoke to the Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull, this morning about the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter and the reckless endangerment of the British public through the use of a military grade nerve agent developed by Russia.

Prime Minister Turnbull said he joined the Prime Minister in her condemnation of the appalling act and expressed his complete solidarity with the UK and its response to the attack.

The Prime Minister explained how she had visited the site at Salisbury yesterday and reiterated how the act represented an unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the UK.

On the UK’s response, she explained how it will expel 23 Russian diplomats who have been identified as undeclared Russian intelligence officers, develop new legislative powers to harden our defences against such hostile activity and suspend all planned high-level contacts between the UK and the Russian Federation.

She thanked Prime Minister Turnbull for his strong support and they agreed on the importance of the international community coming together to take a stand against this despicable act”.

France, Germany, United States and UK Issue Joint Statement on Russian Attack

The Governments of France, Germany, the United States and the UK have issued a joint statement following the attack in Salisbury which has been attributed to the Russians.

The text of the statement reads:

“We, the leaders of France, Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom, abhor the attack that took place against Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury, UK, on 4 March 2018. A British police officer who was also exposed in the attack remains seriously ill, and the lives of many innocent British citizens have been threatened. We express our sympathies to them all, and our admiration for the UK police and emergency services for their courageous response.

This use of a military-grade nerve agent, of a type developed by Russia, constitutes the first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since the Second World War. It is an assault on UK sovereignty and any such use by a State party is a clear violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and a breach of international law. It threatens the security of us all.

The United Kingdom briefed thoroughly its allies that it was highly likely that Russia was responsible for the attack. We share the UK assessment that there is no plausible alternative explanation, and note that Russia´s failure to address the legitimate request by the UK government further underlines its responsibility. We call on Russia to address all questions related to the attack in Salisbury. Russia should in particular provide full and complete disclosure of the Novichok programme to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Our concerns are also heightened against the background of a pattern of earlier irresponsible Russian behaviour. We call on Russia to live up to its responsibilities as a member of the UN Security Council to uphold international peace and security”.

Boris Johnson Calls for United Global Response to Salisbury Attack

Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, has called for a global response following the Salisbury attack, which the Government has attributed to the Russians.

Johnson said in a statement:

“While we await an explanation from Russia of how a military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia came to be used in the UK, the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has today been calling his counterparts and leaders of international organisations to set out what we know and our concerns that, if as we suspect is highly likely the Russian state was responsible, this would be further reckless behaviour which threatens the international community and requires an international response.

The Foreign Secretary has emphasised that if this was a direct act by the Russian state then it would not simply be a threat to the UK, but a clear violation of the chemical weapons convention, a breach of international law and a threat to those who abide by the rules-based international order as a whole.

The French Foreign Minister Le Drian offered France’s total solidarity for an unacceptable act, and noted that President Macron had promised to stand by the UK as it prepares to take concrete measures against Russia’s breach of international order. The French government stressed particular concerns about Russia’s use of chemical weapons elsewhere, as is evident with their support to Asad’s murderous regime in Syria.

In speaking to the German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, the Foreign Secretary emphasised how countering Russian disinformation, halting Russia’s adventurism in the western Balkans and reducing Russia’s ongoing involvement in Ukraine’s humanitarian crisis were issues of paramount importance to Germany and the UK alike.

Speaking to the NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, the Foreign Secretary reiterated the importance of NATO standing together to counter the threat Russia poses not just to the UK, but to our NATO allies also. He was pleased that the NATO Secretary General expressed his support and solidarity, and agreed that NATO unity was paramount, as it was to counter other existing threats to NATO partners, including in eastern Europe where UK troops are stationed alongside troops from various Allies. They both agreed that Russian actions repeatedly threaten the security of NATO partners – from the Baltics, Balkans, Ukraine and Georgia – and NATO must stand as an alliance to call out Putin’s behaviour. The UK will brief the North Atlantic Council at tomorrow’s session”.

Prime Minister Speaks to President Macron of France over Salisbury Incident

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has spoken to President Macron of France following the attack in Salisbury which is now being attributed to the Russians. The President joined in the condemnation of the attack and issued his support for the British Government on the matter.

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said:

“The Prime Minister spoke to President Macron of France to update him on the latest situation regarding the incident in Salisbury on 4 March. She outlined the conclusion reached by the Government that it was highly likely that Russia was responsible for the act against Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

They discussed the wide pattern of aggressive Russian behaviour and agreed that it would be important to continue to act in concert with allies to address it. President Macron condemned the attack and offered his solidarity with the UK. They agreed that the French and British governments should coordinate closely as the investigation developed and following Russia’s response”.

Government Updates Salisbury Health Warning

The Government has issued updated guidance for those in the Salisbury area who may have been affected by the use of a nerve agent. Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, has said that the investigation is continuing and that the Government is “committed to bringing the perpetrators to justice”.

Public Health England said in a statement:

“The immediate risk to the general public remains low and this has not changed. Rigorous scientific analysis has been ongoing and we have learnt that there has been some limited contamination in both The Mill pub and Zizzi restaurant in Salisbury. Anyone who visited The Mill pub or Zizzi restaurant where the 2 affected individuals were can be reassured that this limited exposure will not have harmed their health to date. However, there may be a very small health risk associated with repeated contact with belongings which may have been contaminated by this substance. We therefore recommend that a precautionary approach is taken and advise people to clean the clothes they were wearing and any possessions they had with them.

Those who were in either location should:

 – wash clothing they haven’t already in the washing machine
 – any items which cannot be washed, and which would normally be dry cleaned, should be put in two plastic bags tied at the top and stored safely at home (we are currently reviewing the best way of cleaning these clothes and will provide further advice on our website)
 – wipe personal items such as phones, handbags and other electronic items with cleansing or baby wipes and dispose of the wipes in the bin
 – wash other items such as jewellery and spectacles which cannot go in the washing machine with warm water and detergent and rinse with clean, cold water
 – wash their hands thoroughly after cleaning any items

We want to reiterate that the immediate risk to those affected is extremely low and this is a precautionary measure”.

Rudd said in a statement to Parliament:

“At approximately 4.15pm on Sunday afternoon, Wiltshire police received a call from a member of the public who was concerned for the welfare of two people in a park in Salisbury. Emergency services were called, and the two were admitted to the A&E department of Salisbury District Hospital. They were a man in his 60s and a woman in her 30s, with no visible signs of injury. They are understood to be Sergei and Yulia Skripal. Both remain unconscious, and in a critical but stable condition.

I regret to inform the House that a police officer has also fallen seriously ill. The officer was one of the first responders on Sunday, acting selflessly to help others. The latest update from the hospital is that the officer’s condition remains serious but stable, and that he is conscious, talking and engaging. Officers from Wiltshire police are providing support for the officer’s family and colleagues. Our thoughts are with all three victims, and their families and friends, at what will be an incredibly difficult time for them”.