Over the course of four days last week, the Prime Minister visited Salisbury and came to the House of Commons twice to update MPs, following the Russian state attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal in the Wiltshire city.
An attempted murder using a weapons-grade nerve agent in the United Kingdom is not just a crime against the Skripals, but a reckless act against our country which put the lives of innocent civilians at risk. As I write, Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, who was exposed to the chemical, is still in hospital.
Theresa May confirmed that UK action would include the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats who have been identified as undeclared intelligence officers, the development of proposals for new legislative powers to harden our defences against Hostile State Activity and ensure those seeking to carry out such actions cannot enter our country, and the suspension of all planned high-level contacts between Britain and Russia.
The use of a military-grade nerve agent, of a type developed by Russia, is the first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe since the Second World War. The leaders of France, Germany, the United States and the UK issued a joint statement calling on Moscow to address all questions related to the attack.
The Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), the group which has been the bedrock of our security for nearly 70 years, also expressed his solidarity.
Keeping our country and its people safe is the first duty of any government, and one which Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn has proved he is not up to.
We can be proud of the role Crawley plays in keeping our country safe. Earlier this year in the House of Commons I paid tribute to the efforts of Manor Royal-based Thales UK, and their work in delivering the Royal Navy’s Crowsnest system.
Henry Smith MP