Tories Vote to Silence Putin Critics

Sergei Magnitsky is a name more familiar with human rights campaigners than Westminster insiders. Back in 2009 Magnitsky, a Moscow lawyer, uncovered a multi-million pound scandal involving figures from the Russian government, police and the country’s infamous mafia. Just a few days after making the allegations he was arrested, and died in police custody the week before the police were legally required to release him. At the time the Economist reported that he died after being denied medical treatment by “violent and corrupt cops for hire”.

Last week a report was presented to the Council of Europe detailing a series of human rights allegations against the Russian government, including the Magnitsky case. The vote on whether to hold Russia to account was close, but the motion fell just short of reaching the two-thirds majority required. On Putin’s side were the usual suspects – his own party United Russia, and some old allies like Azerbaijan, Serbia and Armenia. A few communist votes from the Czech Republic also backed up the Russians. But there was one unlikely source of support.

Five British Conservative MPs – Brian Binley, James Clappison, Edward Leigh, Ian Liddell-Grainger and Robert Walter – and two Tory peers also voted to quash the motion. They were joined by, shock, LibDem Russian loverboy Mike Hancock. Despite very real evidence worthy of investigation, their votes helped block the motion calling for Russia to have to explain itself. Why did eight British parliamentarians vote to help Putin whitewash the claims against his government?  There are some very searching questions to answer…



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