Politics

Keir Starmer calls for unity over sanctions on Russian oligarchs

Boris Johnson announced the UK would be imposing further sanctions on Russia after the escalation in Ukraine.

Johnson faced questions from MPs at Prime Minister's Questions today. Image: Parliament TV

Labour leader Keir Starmer called for unity in parliament, as prime minister Boris Johnson announced the UK will be implementing further sanctions on Russia.

Starmer said during Prime Minister’s Questions that Labour would give support to legislation exposing the real owners of Russian-owned companies, while Johnson claimed no government could be doing more to combat the influence of Russian money.

Johnson also announced the UK will be providing further military aid to Ukraine, and congratulated Team GB’s curling teams for winning medals at the Winter Olympics.

Starmer said: “Will the prime minister work across the house to ensure that this is the end of the era of oligarchy impunity, by saying that this house of this country will no longer be home to their loot?”

Although attention has shifted from the Partygate controversy towards the Ukraine crisis, Johnson’s leadership has still faced personal pressure this week.

He issued a written statement today clarifying that, contrary to the prime minister’s comments in the Commons yesterday, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is not one of the Russian oligarchs subject to sanctions – an admission that he had inadvertently misled the house.

It was also confirmed on Tuesday that Johnson was the first prime minister to be questioned under caution by police, after ITV News obtained a copy of the questionnaire sent to 88 people accused of attending the Downing Street parties.

The government is preparing further sanctions on Russia after president Vladimir Putin recognised two breakaway regions of Ukraine.

Foreign secretary Liz Truss said: “We still have sanctions left in the locker to impose in the event of a full invasion.”

Measures announced yesterday included sanctions on five Russian banks and three oligarchs, with further action reported to be targeting energy and defence firms in Russia.

The UK’s Covid laws will also stop on Thursday, amid criticism over the decision to drop free testing and Covid sick pay.

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