CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

FOREIGN AFFAIRS – MOSCOW SIEGE – 18 June 2003

[The Minister of State (Europe), Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Dr Denis MacShane): I am interested in the elaboration on what the hon. Member for New Forest, East (Dr Lewis) referred to as conspiracy theories. If terrorists with political aims had taken hostages in a London theatre, it is hard to believe that we would have invented a conspiracy theory to explain that it had all been got up by the security forces. Does he really maintain that the people who threatened to kill hundreds in the Moscow theatre were manipulated by the Russian security forces?]

Dr Julian Lewis: I thank the Minister for finally giving way, as what he said is a perversion of what I said, as he well knows. There is no doubt that the people who mounted the attack were terrorists, but the question is why the unconscious terrorists were eliminated. If that had happened in a similar attack in this country, there would have been a furore over it. Will he answer the question asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Reigate: will the Prime Minister put Chechnya on the agenda for discussion with President Putin? Yes or no, please.

[Dr MacShane: I take exception to the nature of these interventions in what has been a well-tempered and moderate debate. Terrorists have been killed during action taken by our security forces to free hostages. I do not remember members of the Conservative Party, inside or outside Parliament, raising the matter.]