By Ben Craig
Lymington Times – 1 March 2022
The scale of sanctions against Russia should "inflict maximum economic pain", New Forest East MP Julian Lewis has urged the government.
Conservative Dr Lewis described Russia president Vladimir Putin as a "robotic, sneering psychopath" when he spoke in a House of Commons debate yesterday (Monday) about economic measures against the invasion of Ukraine. He was responding to foreign secretary Liz Truss who set out out measures against Russia, such as degrading its economy, isolating it in the world and supplying Ukraine with weapons.
Dr Lewis, who is chair of the Commons' intelligence and security committee, said:
"As a matter of superior tactics, does my right honourable Friend accept that the right way to deal with a robotic, sneering psychopath firmly in the grip of small-man syndrome is not to impose sanctions in a piecemeal and gradually escalating way but to seek to inflict maximum economic pain at the earliest possible moment?"
Ms Truss replied:
"Yes is the answer, and that is what we are doing; we are pushing as hard as we can for the toughest possible sanctions. This is the biggest package of sanctions the UK has ever put in place in our history, and we want to do even more and we want to push it with our allies.
"Together with the G7, we represent half the global economy, and that is what will really shift Putin’s behaviour. That is what will really degrade the Russian economy and stop him being able to fund his war machine."
In another debate Dr Lewis also pushed for action to remove "dirty Russian money" from the UK, as business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng set out plans for greater transparency, such as property ownership.
Dr Lewis said:
"I welcome the statement, as far as it goes. As a matter of principle, does my right honourable Friend agree that cleansing British public life of dirty Russian money is not quintessentially difficult?"
Mr Kwarteng said:
"As my right honourable friend appreciates, this legislation is timely. We are grateful that it seems to have elicited huge support across the House, and we are pleased 'to be able to expedite it."