PMQs: Caroline Lucas questions PM on ‘Russian interference’
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Caroline Lucas echoed the words of Boris Johnson when he was Foreign Secretary by saying there had been no evidence of a “successful” interference from Russia in UK elections. Ms Lucas wanted to know what evidence there was of “unsuccessful attempts” but Tory benches loudly jeered at her as she struggled to get through her line of questioning. Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle was forced to intervene and wrap up the query with Ms Lucas lambasting her opponents for delaying her question from being said.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Ms Lucas wanted to know the extent of Russian interference in UK politics following concerns of Russian donors to the Conservative Party.
She told the House: “He was Foreign Secretary in 2017, in a joint press conference with the Russian Foreign Minister, Lavrov claimed there was no evidence that Russia had interfered in UK elections in any way.
“The now Prime Minister corrected him and said there was no evidence of successful interference.
“So can the Prime Minister tell us what evidence he has seen on unsuccessful interference…”
As Ms Lucas continued her question, the chamber became noticeably chaotic with the Green MP being encouraged by nearby MPs to power on through.
Before finally asking why Mr Johnson is “turning a blind eye to corruption”, Sir Lindsay intervened to calm the situation down.
He said: “I hope that you’re coming to the end of the question.”
As the chamber laughed, Ms Lucas said: “Mr Speaker I could be a lot faster if I wasn’t being barracked by the side opposite.”
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Sir Lindsay replied: “I think the challenge is that I do want to get the front benches moving quickly, we want to get speed into it.”
Mr Johnson eventually rose from his seat to answer Ms Lucas by bluntly telling her he stands by the comments he made.
In December 2017, Mr Johnson visited Russia to speak with Sergei Lavrov about the biggest international issues at the time which included Syria and accusations of Russian election meddling.
While Mr Lavrov said there had been no election interference, the Prime Minister said it was not done “successfully” during a tense press conference.
Mr Lavrov replied: “He’s scared that if he doesn’t disagree with me, his reputation will be ruined at home.”
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Mr Johnson added: “Sergei, it’s your reputation I’m worried about.”
Mr Lavrov also said of the meeting: “It’s no secret that our relations are at a low point and that’s not at our initiative.
“We’ve noticed you and other western countries have your reasons for this and you prefer to speak about them publicly.
“We would prefer to discuss these issues directly, not in public through microphones.”
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