Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans meets the US Speaker of the House of Representatives and condemns President Putin’s invasion of Ukraine
I have visited Ukraine on a few occasions and I have also visited Russia several times. I find it impossible to believe that the people of Russia support the invasion of Ukraine. I am still coming to terms with the fact that the Russian president has taken this decision and I pay tribute to the brave Russian citizens who have taken to the streets, in huge numbers, to show their anger and I have huge respect for the people of Ukraine as they fight to retain their independence and their way of life.
The British people meanwhile are throwing their support behind Ukraine and it was a wonderful spectacle at the England v Wales game at Twickenham and the Carabao cup final at Wembley to witness huge crowds cheering and sustaining long applause for the messages displayed at both stadiums. Sport normally tries to stay a million miles away from politics but the message to President Putin is clear – you started this war and you must now end it – or we will isolate you. It saddens me that the world community is only just coming out of enforced isolation due to Covid and now faces man-made danger.
Another normalisation has been the scaffolding coming down around the Elizabeth Tower in Parliament. Four years on from the start of the refurbishment of the tower and we can see the re-emergence of one of the world’s most iconic landmarks.
Parliament has also installed two new lamps to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. MPs and Peers contributed towards the gift, which will be enjoyed by the huge number of visitors who are now coming back to tour the Palace of Westminster.
We recently welcomed the US Speaker of the House of Representatives to the Commons. Nancy Pelosi was on fine form as she toasted her UK friends in the glorious State Rooms of Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle. As she looked around, Nancy made reference to there being nothing as historic in the USA.
Which brings me full circle to the invasion of Ukraine. The Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited a Ukranian Orthodox church, the Speaker wore his blue and yellow tie and Parliament was illuminated with the colours of the Ukranian flag.
I have received huge numbers of emails from Ribble Valley constituents giving their support to Ukraine and wanting our Government to give whatever support they can to help.
These are incredibly worrying times and the next few weeks will be critical as to what happens. We stand on the brink of a much wider escalation of this conflict and we all pray that world leaders can have some influence on President Putin, but my hopes are not high.
It is with the brave people of Russia that I wish to leave a last word. We have seen hundreds of anti-war, Russian protesters being arrested on the streets of Moscow in defiance of what they know to be wrong. I pray that their numbers will grow and their voices become louder. If Putin won’t listen to leaders around the world, then maybe he will finally listen to the brave chorus of his own citizens. God Bless them and the people of Ukraine.