Sunday shows: Labour urges ministers to “deal with Russian aggression at home”

Trevor Phillips on Sunday

David Lammy, Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary, said the UK should “stand up to Russian aggression abroad” but also “deal with Russian aggression in our own country”, calling on the Conservative Party to return political donations associated with Vladimir Putin and his regime.

  • On Russian influence: “It’s important that we stand up to Russian aggression abroad, and in central Europe, but it’s hugely important that we deal with Russian aggression in our own country and we have been calling now for months and months for the government to implement the Russia report.”
  • On money: “We have to deal with the dirty money circulating in London. London is becoming the laundromat of the world and, embarrassingly, President Biden conveyed concern that the sanction regime that we need is compromised because of the government’s refusal to deal with that dirty money problem.”
  • Asked whether he agrees with Liz Truss that the UK should arm a resistance force in the Ukraine in the event of a Russian invasion: “If it is the case that Russia chooses to incur or invade the country, they will need support – and it’s absolutely right that we support the Ukrainians in that defensive posture.”
  • Pressed on whether Labour would support sending money and arms: “Of course we must arm and support them if there is a battle ahead… Resisting Russian aggression? Absolutely.”
  • Asked whether the Labour Party would expel a politician who had taken “Putin-associated” money: “If that is the case, the money should be given back.”
  • On Labour’s call for the Conservative Party to return Russian donations: “Any money associated with Vladimir Putin and his regime should be given back.”
  • Asked whether other institutions, including Cambridge University, should return such donations: “We should make a distinction between political donations to our parties. That is the distinction that was made by the Russia report.”
  • Asked why Labour has not tabled a no confidence motion in Boris Johnson: “Because of the numbers, the majority that the Conservatives have, this is an issue for Conservative backbenchers… This is a matter for the 1922 committee.”

Kwasi Kwarteng, the Business Secretary, said the Prime Minister was right to “clarify” his accusation that Keir Starmer failed to prosecute Jimmy Savile, but that his original comment – which triggered the resignation of a key aide – was “reasonable”.

“It was perfectly reasonable to mention the fact Sir Keir apologised on behalf of the organisation he led about the fact they failed to prosecute Jimmy Savile. So the fact he apologised suggests he does at some level bear some responsibility.”

He added: “I’m not saying he had personal blame, he didn’t, and we’ve been very clear about that, the PM clarified that position as well. But I think in the cut and thrust of debate… bringing up something Sir Keir himself apologised for seems reasonable.”

The Business Secretary also rejected the idea that Rishi Sunak is distancing himself from Johnson, arguing that he and the Chancellor are “working together” and that they are “100% behind the Prime Minister”.

Sunday Morning

David Lammy promoted Labour’s energy crisis policy and again called on the UK government to “deal with Russian aggression at home” and “fix the dirty problem we have”, including by returning donations to the Conservative Party from “people linked to Putin”.

  • On Labour’s solution to the energy crisis: “The North Sea oil and gas companies have had record bumper profits this year. There should be a windfall tax.”
  • On why Rishi Sunak’s solution is a “gamble”: “Prices may continue to rise.”
  • On the two proposals: “Our scheme is costing £6.6bn. The government scheme is costing £9bn.”
  • On the Bank of England governor saying workers should not ask for big pay rises: “Of course pay has got to keep up as best it can [with rising prices].”
  • On Russia: “I do think it’s important that we’re united on standing up to Vladimir Putin. That we support efforts to respect the sovereignty of Ukraine and their territorial integrity… It’s also right that as we deal with Russian aggression abroad, that we deal with Russian aggression at home. We have to fix the dirty money problem we have, this huge problem of money laundering in London, corruption and fraud, donations to political parties.”
  • He added: “Where is the overseas territories bill? Why has it taken them so long to get an economic crime bill? Why aren’t they reforming the Computer Misuse Act? Why aren’t they dealing with the Companies House? Why aren’t they dealing with espionage and reviewing our laws? The foreign agents bill? There is so much that they’re not doing. They are taking money from people linked to Putin, which they should give back. They’re not deal with our problems at home and Joe Biden knows it. He’s concerned and it’s been raised at the highest level.”

Kwasi Kwarteng defended Boris Johnson’s false claim about crime figures this week by arguing that people do not generally consider fraud a crime.

  • On the upcoming National Insurance hike: “The National Insurance issue has been settled… There was a debate in cabinet, but I think the Prime Minister and the Chancellor have been clear that the National Insurance rise is something which is painful and necessary.”
  • On whether Boris Johnson has the moral authority to lead: “He’s got a very clear mandate.”
  • On Johnson’s false claim this week that the government has cut crime by 14%, a figure that does not include fraud or computer misuse: “When people talk about crime – I think fraud is really really important, but people are talking particularly about burglaries, personal injury, physical crimes.”

Tory backbencher Sir Iain Duncan Smith said Boris Johnson’s involvement in lockdown parties is “hugely damaging” for the Conservatives but he should lead them into the next election, deal with the problems that have arisen from ‘partygate’ and focus on the rising cost of living.

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