20th November 2018
Greg Hands (MP for Chelsea and Fulham): My hon. Friend knows a lot about Russia—she is, if I am not mistaken, one of the few Members of this House who has a degree in the Russian language, so we know that her approach is not, per se, anti-Russian. Does she agree with the assessment of Fair Trials, the UK-based rights campaign, which says: “It would not be appropriate for a country with a record of violations of Interpol’s rules to be given a leadership role in a key oversight institution”?
Harriet Baldwin (Minister of State for Africa): I thank my right hon. Friend for his question. As he rightly points out, there is a distinction to be made here. I have set out the UK Government’s position with regard to tomorrow’s election and our judgment regarding the candidate that we support. He is absolutely right that, in the Prime Minister’s words, we have absolutely no quarrel with the people of Russia. I take this opportunity at the Dispatch Box to reiterate the UK Government’s desire to see Russia behave as a responsible member of the international community and to end its illegal annexation of Crimea, to end the destabilisation of eastern Ukraine, and, indeed, to account for the reckless actions of the GRU on British soil and to rein in GRU activities. That, as my right hon. Friend rightly points out, does not mean that the British people cannot, through cultural relations and ongoing diplomatic relations, engage with the Russian Government.