When the Prime Minister updated the House on the ultimatum given to Russia over the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, I spoke about my experience of the Russian state as head of the British Council through the Litvinenko crisis, and asked the Prime Minister if she agrees that the World Cup in Russia risks vindicating Putin and his regime.

Stephen Kinnock: I should like to add my full support to the Prime Minister’s robust response today. As director of the British Council in St Petersburg from 2005 to 2008, I have first-hand experience of the utterly ruthless way in which the Russian state can operate. Does she share my concern that holding the World Cup in Russia this summer could be perceived as a global vindication of Mr Putin’s regime? If so, will she be making representations to FIFA to explore the possibility of postponing the World Cup until 2019 and holding it in a more appropriate host country or countries?

​The Prime Minister: I thank the hon. Gentleman for his support, which is particularly valuable given his experience with the British Council. The holding of sporting events and the choice of venues are matters for the sporting authorities. The sporting authorities here in the United Kingdom will have heard what I have said today about the actions of the Russian state.

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