Expose the wealth of the Putin family, says Foreign Affairs Committee chairman

The Tory chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee has urged the Prime Minister to "use the tools at her disposal to expose the wealth" of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his family in the wake of the nerve agent attack.

Speaking in the Commons following Theresa May's statement on the incident in Salisbury, Tom Tugendhat called on the Government to "expose him for what he is and not be a useful idiot hiding behind legalism of his crimes".

His comments came as Liberal Democrats leader Sir Vince Cable urged the Government to use its legal powers in relation to unexplained wealth orders.

Mr Tugendhat (Tonbridge and Malling) said: "May I thank the Prime Minister for her impressive leadership in this matter.

"I associate myself actually unusually with the leader of the Liberal Democrats in calling for more use of unexplained wealth orders.

"But could I also ask her if she will use the tools at her disposal to expose the wealth of the Putin family.

"Three billion dollars (£2.15 billion) or more has been stolen from the Russian people by that man.

"We should expose him for what he is and not be a useful idiot hiding behind legalism of his crimes."

Mrs May replied: "Can I thank him for his contribution and suggestion, can I also say on the unexplained wealth orders, of course those are tools that we do use but we have to use properly in accordance with the rule of law following the due processes that should take place."

Sir Vince said both he and his party fully supported Mrs May's statement.

He said: "Can I ask what is her response to the brave leader of the opposition in Russia Alexei Navalny - who is not allowed to stand in the presidential election - who has said that the most effective action the British Government can take is to use its legal powers such as the unexplained wealth orders against named individuals who are critical to the Putin operation... will she act?"

Mrs May responded: "Can I thank him for the support he has given to the actions being taken by the Government.

"Can I also say to him as I said in my statement, that we do of course look at issues around corrupt elites, we look at the issues around criminal finances, we look at using the tools and capabilities that are at our disposal.

"The National Crime Agency is continuing on that work."