Jeremy Corbyn has accused the Foreign Secretary of “misleading the public” when he insisted that Britain’s Porton Down chemical weapons research laboratory was “categorical” that the poison used to make a former Russian spy, his daughter and a British police man who attended them ill originated in Russia.
The assertion that Russia had used the deadly banned Russian-made nerve agent Novichok, thought to have been destroyed to poison people in the UK has escalated a series of tit for tat diplomatic explusions from Britain, Russia, and British allies like the US.
The Labour leader said that Boris Johnson had “claimed categorically, and I think he used the words ‘101 percent’, that it had come from Russia. – Porton Down have not said that. They’ve said that they’ve identified it was Novichok, they cannot identify the source of it. And so, either the Foreign Secretary has information that he’s not sharing with Porton Down or it was a bit of an exaggeration.”
Johnson retorted that the Leader of the Opposition was playing “Russia’s game.” The Government have rejected Russian calls for a joint investigations into the poisoning, and Boris Johnson is sticking to his guns, insisting that Russia is behind the chemical attack on British soil.
But many are criticising the Foreign Secretary for gifting the Russian government a massive PR coup with another of the ill-judged gaffes that he has become infamous for.
In an interview given to German TV last month, Mr Johnson said that “people from Porton Down” were “absolutely categorical” that the nerve toxin used in the Salisbury attack originated in Russia. The Foreign Secretary added: “I asked the guy myself. I said ‘are you sure?’, and he said ‘there’s no doubt’.”
– Only for the lab to contradict Johnson on Tuesday, insisting that they could not determine “the precise source”. The Foreign Office was then forced to delete an inaccurate tweet, which did not do unnoticed by the social media savvy Russian embassy which took delight in the back-tracking.