POLITICS
13/03/2018 09:19 GMT | Updated 13/03/2018 12:33 GMT

Jeremy Corbyn Behaving Like Donald Trump Towards Russia, Says David Miliband

Ex-foreign secretary praises Theresa May's response to spy attack.

PA Wire/PA Images

David Miliband has accused Jeremy Corbyn of behaving like Donald Trump when it comes to dealing with Russia.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4′s Today programme on Tuesday morning, the former Labour foreign secretary suggested Corbyn was not “standing up for British citizens” with his response to the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

“I tell you the really thing that struck me is that some of the contents of what Jeremy Corbyn was saying it was strangely like the kind of things President Trump says about the need to engage in dialogue, to keep on talking to them,” Miliband said.

“No one is saying that all contact is going to be cut off. The question is whether there are actions as well as words. It is only actions that show the Russians we are serious.”

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Miliband said it was “worrying” that the White House has “not felt able to point the finger at Russia in the last seven or eight days”.

Speaking in the Commons yesterday, Corbyn said the UK needed to “continue seeking a robust dialogue with Russia on all the issues” rather than “simply cutting off contact and letting the tensions and divisions get worse and, potentially, even more dangerous”.

The Labour leader was also heckled by Tory MPs for using the occasion to highlight Tory donations from Russian oligarchs. Some Labour MPs also made plain their displeasure.

Theresa May has said it is “highly likely” that Russia was behind the attack and has given Moscow until the end of today to provide a “credible” explanation. 

Joshua Roberts / Reuters

Miliband praised the prime minister for her response to the attempted murder. “The tone Theresa May set in the House of Commons was right,” he said. “She was firm but not seeking to be macho.”

He added: “This is about standing up for British citizens. It’s not about being anti-Russian. It’s now about starting a second Cold War.”

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said the poisoning of an ex-spy in the UK “clearly came from Russia” and vowed it “will trigger a response”.

However before Tillerson’s comments, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders avoided placing the blame at Russia’s feet when asked if Moscow was behind the attack.