March 13, 2018 01:20:20by

David Miliband attacks Corbyn's 'Trump-like' response to Russian spy poisoning

David Miliband attacks Corbyn\'s \'Trump-like\' response to Russian spy poisoning

Former Foreign Secretary David Miliband has attacked Jeremy Corbyn's "Donald Trump-like" response to the poisoning of a Russian former spy.

The ex-MP, who lost a bid for the leadership in 2010, hit out at Labour's leader for turning the tables on the Tories after Theresa May publicly blamed Russia yesterday.

Mr Corbyn was heckled with shouts of "shame" by Tory MPs when he pointed out Russian oligarchs had donated more than £800,000 to the Conservative Party.

The Labour leader told MPs: "We need continue seeking a robust dialogue with Russia... rather than simply cutting off contact and letting the tensions and divisions get worse."

But Mr Miliband told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Some of contents of what Jeremy Corbyn was saying it was strangely like the kind of things that Donald Trump says about the need to engage in dialogue, to keep on talking to them.

"No one's saying all contact is going to be cut off.

"The question is whether or not there are actions as well as words because the truth is that it's only actions that tell the Russians that we're serious."

Mr Miliband, who is now President of the International Rescue Committee in New York, urged the PM to seek international support, saying: "The biggest thing she has to do in the next two days is to rally her allies.

"It is very significant and very worrying, frankly, that the White House has not felt able to point the finger at Russia in the last seven or eight days.

"And, I think that rallying the European allies, and, if possible, significant strands of American opinion, is absolutely key."

This morning foreign secretary Boris Johnson thanked international leaders for their support in the wake of the attack saying Britain had been encouraged by the "willingness of friends" to show support and solidarity.

Mr Johnson said he had talked to President Macron of France and with his German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel but he particularly paid tribute to the comments of his US opposite number Rex Tillerson.

The foreign secretary said: ""I think in particular from President Macron of France, I talked to Sigmar Gabriel my German counterpart, and from Washington where Rex Tillerson last night made it absolutely clear that he sees this as part of a pattern of disruptive behaviour, increasingly disruptive behaviour, malign behaviour by Russia, the reckless use of chemical weapons, the support for the reckless use of chemical weapons which stretches from Syria now to the streets of Salisbury."

Mr Miliband also condemned Russia over the "carnage" in Syria, where President Vladimir Putin has sparked international outrage by backing Syrian leader Bashar Al-Assad's military strikes.

But he said the response should be about standing up for "our own citizens", two of whom are "in mortal danger" rather than escalating tensions.

"It's not about being anti-Russian it's not about starting a second Cold War," he added.

"It's about recognising that Russia is in a revanchist, dangerous mode, it's actually bad for Russia in the medium it's obviously very dangerous for the West too.

"Obviously at the moment with the scandal, the appalling incident in Salisbury, Russia is testing the unity of the West almost as never before - not since the end of the Cold War."

Theresa May has given Russia a midnight deadline to explain how former spy Sergei Skripal, who passed secrets to British intelligence, and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with a nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union.