Skip to main content


Volume 629: debated on Tuesday 17 October 2017

We cannot have a normal relationship with Russia, given how it has behaved in Ukraine and Syria, and given its continuing behaviour in the cyber sphere, but we must engage with Russia, which is what we will do and are doing, to further mutual interests where they exist.

I urge the Secretary of State and his whole team to reread George Kennan’s famous 1947 article on containment, because Kennan predicted that the then Soviet Union, now Russia, would come forward to destabilise Europe, the United States and Japan. Will the Secretary of State also note what Hillary Clinton said yesterday: there is

“a new…cold war and it is just getting started.”?

I remember reading George Kennan’s article many years ago and it contains much wisdom. The tragedy is that, in many ways, Russia is behaving as though there is a new cold war, and our objective is to prevent the situation from getting any worse by constraining Russia and ensuring that we penalise it for its malign and disruptive activities. However, it is also our objective to engage where we can, which is why I will be going to Russia later this year.

A hundred years ago this month saw the start of the Russian revolution, which unleashed misery and purges against millions of Russian people. Although we are right to remind future generations and younger people about the evils of the past, for example through Holocaust Memorial Day, does my right hon. Friend agree that we owe it to the younger generation to educate them about the warped and failed Marxist-Leninist ideology that continues to unleash misery across the world? People should be very worried about that.

Absolutely. It is also worth reminding people that it was the Labour party that sneered at working people who tried to rise up against such regimes, and it was the Labour party that supported and connived in the repressive activities of Moscow for decades.

Ah, the leader and the deputy in hot competition. On this occasion, my instinct is to side with the deputy. I call Jo Swinson.

Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. Amid reports that Russia is hacking into the smartphones of NATO troops and that—[Interruption.]

Order. This is very unseemly. The hon. Lady is putting a pertinent inquiry to the Foreign Secretary, to which I know he will wish to listen undisturbed.

Amid reports that Russia is hacking into the smartphones of NATO troops and the ongoing revelations about the Russian online involvement in the US election, what is the Foreign Secretary’s assessment of the cyber threat posed to this country by Russia and what are his Government doing about it?

We are continually monitoring Russian activity in that sphere. I can tell the hon. Lady that the Russians have been up to all sorts of mischief in many countries, but so far we cannot yet pinpoint any direct Russian cyber-attacks on this country. [Official Report, 14 November 2017, Vol. 631, c. 2MC.]

Will my right hon. Friend give the House an assessment of the impact of the Criminal Finances Act 2017 on Russian relations? Following on from the question asked by the hon. Member for East Dunbartonshire (Jo Swinson), perhaps he will assure me and others in this House that this Act will be used to prevent corrupt, human rights-denying and human rights-abusing Russian oligarchs from using London to launder their ill-gotten gains?

I can tell my hon. Friend that only yesterday, at breakfast, I met Vladimir Kara-Murza, a distinguished leader of the Russian Opposition and a journalist, who paid tribute to this country for being one of the few European countries to implement what is, to all intents and purposes, a Magnitsky Act. People on this side of the House can be very proud of the role they have played—in fact, people on both sides of the House can.