Liz Truss refuses to rule out sanctions on Tory donors from Russia
Liz Truss has received a grilling over the Conservative party receiving donations from people linked to Russia.
On an appearance on Sky News, Truss was asked by host Kay Burley about the party receiving "Russian linked cash" and refused to say the party would return these donations in light of escalating tensions in Ukraine.
"All donations to the Conservative party are from people on the electoral register in Britain, those donations are properly declared," she said.
"The oligarchs that we are targeting in today's sanctions, those are people that are closely linked to Vladimir Putin's regime.
"There are many people who have moved to Russia from Britain, who are not necessarily friends of Vladimir Putin and who have become British citizens that is a completely different matter from people who are close to Vladimir Putin, who are backing his appalling regime."
"As I've said all of those donations are properly declared," Truss said.
"OK, so that's a yes," Burley replied.
Will the Government sanction Tory donors with links to Russia? \n\nForeign Secretary @trussliz says "nothing is off the table", but all donations have been "properly declared."\n\n#KayBurley FMpic.twitter.com/F5Htr281wt
. @KayBurley \u201cThe Tory party has received \u00a32m in Russian linked cash since the PM took office..you\u2019re going to keep it?\u201d\n\n@trussliz \u201call of those donations are properly declared\u201d\n\nKay Burley \u201cthat\u2019s a yes then\u201dpic.twitter.com/1WwWUyquch
Boris Johnson announced on Tuesday that three billionaire allies of the Russian president and five Russian banks would face sanctions.
But some have said these have not gone far enough. Shadow foreign secretary David Lammy told BBC Breakfast: “I think the mood of the entire House of Commons yesterday was that the government were not being strong enough …. backbenchers in the Conservative Party (are) hugely concerned that we’ve not been strong or hard enough.”
Meanwhile, the Conservatives have received £1.93m in Russian donations since July 2019, when Johnson took leadership of the party. The BBC pointed out to Truss this morning that a large proportion of that has come from Lubov Chernukhin, the wife of a former Russian deputy finance minister.
Chernukhin is the largest female donor in British political history, having donated £2 million to the Conservatives from 2012 to 2020.
Truss appeared to dodge questions on this matter:
Dan Walker - The Tories have received \u00a32m with Russian links... people who have benefited from that money are Dominic Raab, Rishi Sunak & 5 other MPs attending cabinet.. how damaging is that? \n\nLiz Truss - These donors are part of the British political system... \n\n#BBCBreakfastpic.twitter.com/xDd4kawobn
But elsewhere on the show, Truss refused to rule out sanctions on Tory donors with links to Russia altogether.
Asked the government was willing to impose sanctions on these donors, she said: “We are very clear that nothing is off the table, in terms of who we’re targeting in terms of the access of Russia to British financial institutions … I don’t rule out anything.”
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