20 mins ago
This is from The Independent’s Political Commentator John Rentoul, who is currently outside Parliament. Protestors have brought traffic to a standstill in the area.
1 hour ago
My colleague Lizzy Buchan is at the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) briefing on the Chancellor’s Spring Statement, delivered in the Commons on Tuesday.
2 hours ago
This is from Political Editor, Joe Watts, on what is expected from Theresa May’s statement later this afternoon.
Theresa May is drawing up plans for an “economic war” with Vladimir Putin and his allies after Moscow refused to explain how a deadly Russian nerve agent came to be used in a rural British city.
The Independent understands the ground is already being prepared for economic measures such as asset freezes and seizures, alongside visa bans against Russian individuals.
Ms May is also understood to be considering expelling diplomats and pushing for joint international action with allies.
The Prime Minister is set to meet her National Security Council on Wednesday to finalise her approach which is then likely be announced to the House of Commons in the afternoon.
Action came a step closer after the Russian Foreign Minister said his country would not cooperate with the British investigation into the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury on 4 March.
But Britain’s allies gave early support to Ms May’s push, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel calling for unified action and US President Donald Trump saying there must be “consequences” for those responsible.
It came during another dramatic day on which:
On Monday Ms May delivered an ultimatum to Russia, that it would have to explain how Novichok, a Russian-made nerve agent came to be used in Salisbury.
A Government minister told The Independent: “What happens will be an economic war, these will be economic measures.
“Russia’s economy is only half that of the UK, a lot of it concentrated in a few people’s hands. Well, we’ll do our bit to make it smaller if they want to carry on like this.
“That doesn’t give us any pleasure at all, but we need the nations of Europe to behave within the rule of law and not like gangsters. The message has to economic, political and diplomatic.”