After leading the Liberal Democrats to electoral oblivion at the General Election and having to resign as leader as a consequence, Nick Clegg has a good reason to drown his sorrows during his remaining time in parliament. Unfortunately he no longer can do this at the vodka bars in Moscow as he has been banned from entering Russia.
The former Deputy Prime Minister reportedly appears on a confidential Russian ‘stop list’ handed to the EU’s ambassador by a representative of Vladimir Putin’s government. The list contains the names of 89 EU politicians, defence leaders, and other senior figures.
It is alleged the list also features the former foreign secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind, Defence Minister Philip Dunne, the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nicholas Houghton and former defence minister Andrew Robathan.
Sir Malcolm Rifkind told ITV news “I’m not particularly surprised” that he had been banned from Russia. He continued by saying “Mr Putin tends to go in for that sort of little tantrum every so often and they clearly are feeling that the sanctions are having an effect, they are realising that their economy will continue to be damaged unless they approach the Ukraine issue in a diplomatic way, rather than misuse of their military forces.”
Sir Malcom went also said he would had been “very miffed” if he hadn’t been added to the Russians list. He further added “I’ve got no immediate plans to go to Russia and haven’t had to change my diary, let’s put it that way!”
The Foreign Office has responded to this news by saying there is “absolutely no justification for this list. If the Russian authorities have not provided any legal basis for the list or for the names on it.” The Foreign Office also stated that this move by Putin would make no difference in stopping the EU sanctions imposed on Russia for its support for separatists in the Ukraine.