Quote of the day 12th February 2022



Paul Holdsworth said…
Truss looking suitably prime-ministerial there, Chris (heaven help us all).

Yet despite the empty threats, her government still refuses to act on the laundering of dirty Russian money through the UK, or return Russia-linked donations to her party.

Time to accept that we are marginalised in international diplomacy both by our departure from the EU, and by the empty posturing of this impotent government, bleeding out from its self-inflicted wounds, while MPs can't bring themselves to cut out the cancer at the very top.
Chris Whiteside said…
We need to keep the dangers of malign foreign influence under review, though I think you are taking a somewhat partisan view of things and quite a few points in you post are just plain wrong.

The UK government was the first in the world to impose Magnitsky sanctions on Russia which target the ill-gotten wealth which people associated with the Putin regime have invested in Britain - and arranged for these to get a lot harsher if Russia invades Ukraine.

The Conservative party only accepts donations from donors who are one of the following:

• An individual registered on a UK electoral register,
including overseas electors and those leaving bequests.
• A UK-registered company.
• A UK-registered trade union.
• A UK-registered building society.
• A UK-registered limited liability partnership (LLP)
that carries on business in the UK.
• A UK-registered friendly society.
• A UK-based unincorporated association
that carries on business or other activities in the UK.

There are some Conservative donors who now hold British citizenship who came here from Russia, as there are from many other countries - however, these are more likely to be people who fled here because they had fallen out with Putin than people who are still friendly with his regime.

While Putin has never admitted that his regime supported either Brexit or Scottish Independence, I strongly suspect that he does: yet there are British citizens of Russian origin who strongly supported Remain and "No." I think it is pretty clear that these individuals are not puppets of Moscow and I do not see donations to UK political parties from British citizens who have demonstrated that they have minds of their own as a problem.

However, given the recent revelations that half a million pounds was given to a British MP by an agent of the Chinese government - something which did not get nearly the attention it deserved - I do agree that all parties in Britain need to be very alive to the possibility of hostile foreign actors trying to subvert British political processes.

And I would be prepared to give very serious consideration to any practical and effective proposals to further toughen the rules.

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