MP for Hornsey and Wood Green
Get a text from the Whip’s Office that there will be an Urgent Question in Parliament from the Conservatives. The Urgent Question is to ask the Home Secretary, John Reid, to make a statement on the death of Alexander Litvinenko.
Basically he just runs through the timetable of events – not really adding anything new. I manage to get called to pose a follow-up question on the lines of:
Mr Litvinenko was my constituent. He was a British Citizen. Can the Home Secretary give me assurances that his death will be investigated without fear nor favour regardless of the diplomatic sensitivities of Russia and that the findings of that investigation will be full, fair and frank?
John Reid was pretty straight in his reply – and basically said that the police would do their job without interference.
As I said in an interview with BBC 24 afterwards, the main points as I see them are: a straight police investigation without interference; that there are questions that still need to be answered as to whether Mr Litvinenko brought his fears to the police before the 1st November; whether other Russian dissidents are concerned and whether they have been contacted in regard to this; have others contacted the police at any time about being followed by secret services and of course – from the public point of view – until the few people who have been asked to take more medical tests get the all clear – there is a residue of concern about contamination around the places where the radioactive material was found.
As Ming Campbell has said, we must not rush to judgement. However, as Ming also pointed out, if it should end up with Russia’s fingerprints on this – then a country which wants a seat at the top table cannot be associated with state terrorism.