Bishop of Leeds comments on Russia and an incident in Salisbury

On 6th March 2018, The Earl of Courtown repeated a statement on the UK’s relationship with Russia amidst speculation about an incident in Salisbury, where a man and his daughter were found unconscious outside a shopping centre. The Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines, made comments about speculation about the incident.

Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, it is clearly important, as has already been observed, that speculation is not always helpful. One of the important questions to be asked in this case is what the Russian Government and Putin himself might have to gain from this. It is not clear. Was it vengeance? If so, why wait till now? Is it deterrence? Any beans these guys have to spill have already been spilled. Is it to exploit the UK’s apparent weakness or our distraction because of Brexit? I am not speculating but asking some questions that need to be asked before we come to conclusions. A phenomenological comparison with Litvenenko may be convenient, but a correlation is not a cause. It will be helpful if we could have some response on the caution that needs to be exercised before proof is brought.

The Earl of Courtown: I thank the right reverend Prelate for his points and his questions. As other noble Lords have said, the results of the investigation, which is urgent, have to come out before any actions can been decided on. However, he raises a good point about why that happened. I do not have the answer. It is understood that the Russian Government have got involved with projects overseas, but I do not have the answers to why on earth they would do this.