Wed Apr 12, 2017 04:03PM
The Labour Party’s Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John McDonnell (Photo by AFP)
The Labour Party’s Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John McDonnell (Photo by AFP)

The government of British Prime Minister Theresa May has taken a “bad decision” by dropping dialogue in favor of more sanctions against Russia, says the Labour Party’s Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John McDonnell.

McDonnell made the remarks in an interview with Sky News on Wednesday, after UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson cancelled a trip to Moscow last week.

Johnson later traveled to Rome, Italy, to participate in talks with his counterparts from the Group of Seven (G7) major industrialized countries about Syria and Russia’s support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“The idea of going along to the G7 to try and put together a coalition around sanctions was never going to succeed. It was a bad policy decision by Mr. Johnson. It should never have happened,” McDonnell told Sky News.

“He should have gone to Moscow. When he went to Moscow he should have been clear with the Russians just how much we condemn what Assad has done, and what they’ve done in support of Assad, but try to get them back to the negotiating table,” the shadow chancellor added.

“I’m hoping the initiative now by the Trump regime and others is going to enable that to happen. It’s a pity Mr. Johnson made such a poor judgment of this matter,” he argued.

According to a Downing Street spokeswoman , May and US President Donald Trump have teamed up to convince Russia to stop backing Assad in the wake of an alleged chemical attack that killed about 80 people in Syria’s Idlib province.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson arrives for a family picture during a meeting of Foreign Affairs Ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) industrialized countries, in Lucca, Tuscany, April 10, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Following the suspected gas attack, two US Navy destroyers launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles from the Mediterranean Sea at al-Shayrat airbase in Homs province in western Syria on April 7.

May, who is on holiday in Wales, has also discussed the matter with her Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau.

McDonnell criticized May for going on vacation despite “the seriousness of the situation” and leaving the matter to Johnson.

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“What we’ve got at the moment is neither a prime minister properly engaged nor someone who anybody, even on Tory backbenches and, from what we understand, even the government’s own cabinet, has confidence in, with regard to Boris Johnson. I think we’re in the worst of all worlds as a result.”

The US and EU have already imposed a series of sanctions on Russian individuals and businesses.