Vladimir Putin would be pleased if Ed Miliband became prime minister, Tory minister Nick Boles claims

The claim was met with widespread derision on social media

Jon Stone
Thursday 09 April 2015 12:34
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Russian President Vladimir Putin, pictured in Budapest last week
Russian President Vladimir Putin, pictured in Budapest last week

A Conservative minister is facing ridicule for suggesting that Russian President Vladimir Putin would be pleased if Ed Miliband became prime minister.

In claims described on social media as “ridiculous” Nick Boles, a business minister, tweeted: “Ask yourself this. Who does Vladimir Putin want to see running Britain after 7th May?

“Answer: the man who abandoned the Syrians to their fate and the woman who wants to scrap our nuclear deterrent.”

Mr Boles’s suggestion attracted a cascade of sarcastic responses including “Larry the Cat”, “Gary Barlow”, “Dale Winton” and “Nick Boles”.

The claim came hours after Tory Defence Secretary Michael Fallon provoked a backlash after claiming in an article for The Times that Mr Miliband would be “willing to stab the United Kingdom in the back to become prime minister”.

The suggestion related to Tory claims that a potential post-election deal between the SNP and Labour could see Britain making savings on its multi-billion-pound-a-year nuclear programme.

Mr Fallon and his colleagues were accused of “slinging mud” on Sky News this morning, a claim which he denied.

“Is that indicative of the Conservative campaign that we’re going to be seeing over the next four weeks? Personal slurs and mud-slinging?” he was asked by presenter Isabel Webster.

“No, we’re not slinging mud,” he replied.

An unimpressed former Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone tweeted: “We should stick pompous Michael Fallon on the end of a nuclear missile and fire it off into space. The world would be a happier place”.

Mr Fallon will announce at a speech in London today that the Conservatives will pledge to build a new fleet of four Trident submarines capable of firing nuclear missiles at cities around the world.

Labour also supports Trident renewal, but the SNP are against it.

Polls suggest the public are increasingly sceptic of whether Britain needs a Cold War-style nuclear deterrant. Anti-Trident feeling is particularly strong in Scotland where a Survation poll from January found 47.2% of Scots opposed a new generation of nuclear weapons based on the Clyde, with 31.6% in favour.

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