Lockerbie: shades of Alexander Litvinenko

When Alexander Litvinenko was murdered (in Muswell Hill), poisoned – I challenged the Government and then Home Secretary John Reid to pursue his killer without fear nor favour, however close the trail got to the Russian establishment.

That is the promise I got from him – but in the end – and despite taking Mrs Litvinenko for a private meeting with David Miliband in which he also promised to bring this to the European table to put pressure on from that angle – justice has never been done.

And it will never be done – because not only is there definitely fear and favour – but it would seem that real justice will always take second place to trade deals and arms deals, with political expedience coming way above the justice that ordinary folk believe in.

If the Libyan bomber had genuinely been released for genuine compassionate reasons because he was genuinely going to die within three months and we are a compassionate country and there were genuinely no other considerations – then we could argue the genuine debate about whether he should have died in prison or be released.

As it is – we have been duped again. It is quite clear, after all the leaks and all the published papers of correspondence and the contradictory statements (contradicting themselves usually)that Straw and Brown have made, how justice gets treated as an expendable add-on. The size of the tragedy at Lockerbie highlights throws into sharp relief that expendable face of justice.

Andrei Lugovi earns immunity

One particular piece of bad news from Russia’s Parliamentary elections: Andrei Lugovi, the man suspected of murdering ex-KGB agent (and constituent of mine) Alexander Litvinenko – was elected, and so now has Parliamentary immunity.

Not good news for those of us who want to see the case come to court and him either convicted or cleared depending on the evidence – either way, a court case would give the chance for justice to be done.

Latest on murder of ex-KGB man

Andrei Lugovi, the man suspected of murdering ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko in the radiation-poisoning case and who Russia has refused to extradite to face trial in Britain, held a press conference yesterday.

His claim was that it was all a secret conspiracy and really British secret agents killed Litvinenko (who was a constituent of mine). Yes, well!

You can read more here.

Tradition turns sadistic in Parliament

Lynne Featherstone with Marina LitvinenkoToday was the meeting I had squeezed out of the Foreign Secretary about the death of Alexander Litvinenko (Pollonium 210 radiation poisoning case). This was so that Marina Litvinenko could get an update on efforts to extradite suspect Andrew Lugovoi from Russia to stand trial for killing her husband.

David Miliband had come to the House of Commons to make a statement on the situation previously – including the expulsion of the Russian diplomats – and I had managed to catch Mr Speaker’s eye. Given the opportunity, I asked David M if he would meet with Marina as she had so many questions to ask that were unanswered. So – today was the day.

As it was a private meeting, I won’t go into the details of what took place, other than to say that during the meeting a vote in Parliament was unexpectedly called. So – David M and I ran, jumped into his car and ran again to get to the Chamber to vote.

We were voting opposite ways – and I reached the door from the Chamber to the voting lobby (MPs vote by physically walking through the yes or no lobby) as the shout went up ‘lock the doors’.

The officer of the house actually closed the door on me as I scooted through and really hurt my hand. I understand that you have to have a cut-off point for voting and close the doors – but I would have thought it inappropriate to push it closed with me in it. That is tradition turned sadistic!

Anyway – back we jumped into the car and back to the meeting. Too much excitement for one day.

One Liberal Democrat candidate I won't be voting for

Andrew Lugovoi, the man accused of murdering Alexander Litvinenko (a constituent of mine) in the radiation poisoning case, should be coming to the UK to face trial on the charges. But instead of being extradited – he is standing for the next Russian Parliament elections for the … Liberal Democratic Party. Needless to say – they are not the sister party of the Lib Dems here!

Criminal investigations at home and abroad

Ealing bright and early – everyone seems very jolly this morning. Think that is probably the aftermath of the news that broke yesterday about the Tory Tony Lit (and Tory must be a loose description) who gave £4,800 to Labour just before he became Tory candidate.

Then back to Parliament, where suddenly see on the annunciator (TV screens around Parliament that tell you what is happening in the Commons and Lords) that there is a statement to be made – an update from the Foreign Secretary on Litvinenko.

I seize my opportunity, as I have been waiting for the new Cabinet to be in place before trying to arrange for Marina Litvinenko and myself to meet with the Foreign Secretary. I get called – compliment (genuinely) David Miliband on his proposal to take a hardish (but proportionate line) with the Russians – expelling diplomats in response to their refusal to extradite the murder suspect in the case – and then ask him if he will agree to meet with me and Marina. He basically says yes – him or if not him – his official. So – a good ask!

Then straight into the BAE corruption debate. It is a Liberal Democrat Opposition motion. What struck me most was the Government’s absolutely vitriol towards us for raising the issue. Very telling! They didn’t like it one bit. I expect it is because the Government has used the smoke screen of ‘national security’ to hide the reason for the dropping of the investigation into BAE by the Serious Fraud Office. They wanted the contract for jobs and commercial reasons – but that is not a reason that can be used for dropping an investigation – only national security is. Hence – it is about national security and I’m the sugar-plum fairy! I didn’t catch Mr Speaker’s eye sadly – despite bobbing up and down for a few hours. I had to satisfy myself with a few interventions instead!

Litvinenko update

Well – after Haringey keep forgetting to update me when they promise to – I contacted them. Again! The ‘critical survey’ which measured the Pollonium 210 residue in the Muswell Hill home of the Litvinenkos and the consequent advice on any remediation needed arrived a week or so ago.

There was some time taken over a difference of opinion in terms of how something was calculated between the Health Protection Agency and Corillion – but that didn’t amount to much. There may be a few spots which are just above the safety level – but most of the house has now returned to the levels normally found in the atmosphere.

So – with regard to the hot spots – there was a ‘strategy’ meeting last week about what comes next and what arrangements need to be made for cleaning the house and as ever – who pays will need to be sorted. I am promised a phone call tomorrow.

Alexander Litvinenko: latest news

At last some new news on the report from the contractors contracted by Haringey Council to measure the levels of Pollonium 210 in the Litvinenko House and recommend what further work will be needed to clean said house.

No – the report is not yet handed to the tribunal and the lawyers for the other side – as it is being finalised and reviewed by the key agencies in charge of our safety. The one thing that is public at this point in time is that the Health Protection Agency has said that there is no risk to any of the neighbours by virtue of what is in the house.

Good news. I hope, however, that the report is soon submitted (expected to happen in another week) and that then the remediation work and who is to pay for it can be agreed and carried out. That is what everyone wants and needs to happen.

Litvinenko house update

Today it is the three weeks since we were told the report from the company who had gone into do a critical survey assessing the risk would be back. Now it looks like Monday. I don’t think we are expecting anything other than a diminution in the danger from the Pollonium 210 originally assessed – unless they have found new hot spots. Outside of that the report is likely to make recommendations based on the results of their findings as to what remedial work is necessary and what the specification for that work will be. So we wait…

Cleaning the Litvinenko house

Yesterday it was off to meet London Turkish Radio after my surgery at Wood Green library – they are next door. Kelami Dedezade (Chair) and Erkan Patirmacioglue (Managing Director) were my hosts. There is a huge Turkish speaking community in London – and LTR operated a 24-hour program – which is quite something.

After that, next up was pursuing Haringey Council as to what stage the ‘character survey’ on the Litvinenko house has reached. The current situation as I understand it is that the specialist survey company who were going in to assess the risk and levels left in the house of the Pollonium 210 did go in last week and were in there for three days. The results should be completed within three weeks and I have asked the Council to inform me of those results as soon as they are out.

It looks like there’ll still be an issue over who pays for the clean up of the house. The Council has made it clear it will not pay. The Government has made it clear they will not pay. I have just had a letter from Ruth Kelly telling me that it is the house owner’s responsibility to pay. Maybe so. However, as the local MP my concern is the well-being – both mental and physical – of those living near the house. One such neighbour has a baby – and when I sat in their back garden the windows of the Litvinenko house were only a few metres away. If that was me – I would want the house certified clear and clean of radiation before I relaxed about it.

I will write back to Ruth Kelly, for whilst I accept that it may very well be the house owner’s responsibility – I want to know what action both Haringey Council will take and the Government will take if the house owner does not act to clean the house.