POLITICS
15/10/2013 13:24 BST | Updated 15/10/2013 14:09 BST

Give Vladimir Putin The Nobel Peace Prize, Says Former Labour Peer

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a media conference after the G8 summit at the Lough Erne golf resort in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland.
PA
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a media conference after the G8 summit at the Lough Erne golf resort in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland.

A former Labour peer has nominated Vladimir Putin for the Nobel Peace Prize for his involvement in the Syrian civil war - and he isn't joking.

Lord Truscott, who now sits as an independent in the House of Lords, told peers on Tuesday afternoon: "Many people would argue that the the Russian-led Syrian peace plan is the most significant peace plan this year. To recognise this and to encourage Russia in its peace making endeavours, a few hours ago I nominated President Putin for the Nobel Peace Prize."

Following disapproving mutters of surprise from around the chamber, he added: "Will Her Majesty's Government do the same?"

Lord Truscott was also obliged to remind peers that he is not quite a neutral observer. He is Putin's biographer. And the suggestion caught peers off-guard, given Russia's decision to arm the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Over 100,000 Syrians have died so far in the civil war.

Government spokesman and Lib Dem peer Lord Wallace of Saltaire, unsurprisingly, was not impressed. "This has been a joint US-Russian peace initiative. It is not a purely a Russian-led peace initiative. We welcome the constructive response which the Russian government is now making on Syria."

He also told peers he felt the decision by Syrian president Assad to allow in UN weapons inspectors would not have happened without the "threat of force" from the West.

Labour spokesman Lord Triesman was quick to distance himself from Lord Truscott. "I probably should start by making it clear its no part of the official Opposition's policy to nominate president Putin for he Nobel Peace Prize," he said.

Last week the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The OPCW was established in 1997 and is based in The Hague, the Netherlands. Experts from the watchdog are working to destroy Syria's massive chemical weapons stockpile after a sarin gas strike in the suburbs of Damascus in August killed more than 1,400 people.

The decision surprised those who had tipped Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban, to receive the world's top peace award.

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