'Growing appetite among MPs' for action over World Cup after Salisbury poisoning

There is a "growing appetite" among MPs to push for international action over the Russia World Cup in the wake of the Salisbury incident, a prominent Labour backbencher has said.

John Woodcock called for Parliament to debate whether the Government should ask its allies to advocate postponing the summer championship or move it to another country.

The Barrow and Furness MP, along with Labour's Ian Austin, raised concerns over plans for the summer tournament.

"I would like to see a parliamentary debate on whether concerted Government action together with other countries to postpone the World Cup or move it to another venue would be the right way to go," Mr Woodcock told the Daily Express.

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The backbencher broke ranks earlier this week to support the Government in blaming of Russia over the poisoning of spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia with a nerve agent.

Mr Woodcock led a group of Labour MPs said to have numbered around 20 to sign an Early Day Motion "unequivocally" accepting the "Russian state's culpability" for the March 4 attack.

On Thursday Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said there were no plans to stop England competing in the World Cup, however he said there will "certainly" not be any "high-level representation" at competition.

"This is a decision which should be shared between the Government, the fans and the FA. I don't want to see anyone dictated to and I am not calling for England to unilaterally withdraw from the tournament," Mr Woodcock said.

"But there is a growing appetite among MPs to push for concerted international action over the World Cup. It should be on the table because of the appalling magnitude of what Russia has done."

Fellow Labour MP Ian Austin told the paper: "I am very concerned that Putin will use the World Cup in the same way that Hitler used the 1936 Munich Olympics, as a public relations exercise for a brutal dictatorship."

The FA told the Express that it would "continue to work closely with the Government and relevant authorities".

Theresa May, US president Donald Trump, German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Emmanuel Macron issued a joint statement on Thursday, endorsing the Prime Minister's conclusion that it was "highly likely" Russia was behind the attack.