Boris gets bloody nose as No 10 kicks World Cup boycott into long grass

The foreign secretary, Boris Johnson,

It began with a bloody nose and ended as war. Boris Johnson had shambled his way into the House of Commons several minutes late looking rather the worse for wear. Sometime over the past few days his conk had fought a losing battle with a hard object – possibly the prime minister’s fist – and a large scab had formed over its bridge. It wasn’t the best of looks. Especially when combined with the large bags that have formed under his eyes. The job is taking its toll.

Though the urgent question from Tom Tugendhat, the chair of the foreign affairs select committee, was broadly on Britain’s relations with Russia, the real subtext was the alleged poison attack in Salisbury on Sergei Skripal and his daughter. The foreign secretary quickly cut to the chase. For legal reasons he prefaced his remarks by saying it was far too early to speculate if this had been a state-sponsored assassination attempt. But, that out the way, he made little effort to hide the fact he clearly considered this to be the most likely scenario and promised swift and severe retribution.

Not everyone was entirely convinced by the foreign secretary’s protestations of defiance. Tugendhat, Labour’s Emily Thornberry and a succession of backbenchers from both sides of the house pointed out that an investigation by BuzzFeed had come to the conclusion that, as well as burying a report into the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, the government had also managed to turn a blind eye to the assassination of 14 Russian nationals by the…

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