‘WE MUST do more to defeat Putin’s campaign of lies and disinformation,’ Labour leader Keir Starmer told the House of Commons yesterday at PMQs.
‘Russia Today is his personal propaganda tool and I can see no reason that it should be allowed to continue to broadcast in this country.’
He asked: ‘So will the Prime Minister now ask Ofcom to review its licence?’
Johnson replied: ‘I believe that the secretary of state for culture, media and sport has already asked Ofcom to review that matter.
‘But what I will say is that we live in a democracy and we live in a country that believes in free speech and I believe that we should leave it up to Ofcom officials to decide which media outlets are banned.’
Starmer continued: ‘We are not dealing with breakaway republics, Putin is not a peacekeeper, a sovereign nation has been invaded.
‘The Prime Minister promised that in the event of an invasion he would unleash a full packet of sanctions, If not now, then when?’
Johnson replied: ‘Under the measures that this House has already approved, we can now target any Russian entity, any Russian individuals and we can already target not only the so-called breakaway Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, we can target members of the Duma that voted to recognise it.
‘This is the most far-reaching legislation of our time and I am glad it has his support.’
Johnson also said: ‘We are bringing forward a new tranche of military support to the Ukraine, this will include lethal aid, in the form of defensive weapons and non-lethal aid.’
He then said: ‘We are also accelerating the Economic Crime Bill, in the next session, which will enable us in the UK to peal back the facade of beneficial ownership of property in the UK.’
Starmer said: ‘I am not going to be deflected from the unity that this House needs at the moment. Putin seeks division, we must stay united. Will the Prime Minister work with the House to ensure that this is the end of the era of oligarch impunity by saying that this House and this country will no longer be home to their loot.’
Johnson said: ‘I am genuinely grateful for the tone of his last question and for the general support that the opposition have given and he is right that it is absolutely vital that we in the UK should stand united.’