Sir Peter Tapsell MP speaks on Crimean crisis

Sir Peter Tapsell MP
Sir Peter Tapsell MP

Louth and Horncastle MP, Sir Peter Tapsell, has spoken in the House of Commons on the issue of Crimea. Last week the Crimean Parliament declared that a referendum would be held to consider seceding from Ukraine and becoming part of the Russian Federation, in a move that has been widely condemned as illegal under the Ukrainian constitution.

Directing his question towards Prime Minister David Cameron during the debate on Monday (March 10), Sir Peter said: “Why is it acceptable for the Scottish nationalists to be granted a referendum in Scotland on constitutional arrangements dating back to 1707, but unacceptable for Russian nationalists in the Crimea to have a referendum about constitutional arrangements that date back only to 1954?

“Does my right honourable friend agree that, if the Crimean referendum could be postponed until such time as international observers could be put in place to ensure that the referendum was genuine, that would be by far the most sensible solution to the problem?”

David Cameron responded: “To answer the Father of the House directly, the difference between the Scottish referendum and the one in Crimea is that the Scottish referendum is legal. It was discussed and debated in this House and in the Scottish Parliament, and we went a long way to put in place arrangements that I have described as not only decisive and fair but legal.

“The difference between those arrangements and the Crimean referendum is that the Crimean referendum is illegitimate and illegal under the Ukrainian constitution. That is not to say that the people of Ukraine or of Crimea cannot, over time, find a way of expressing their own preferences.

“That is what we have done in Scotland, and of course they can do it there too, but the way in which this referendum has come about is clearly illegitimate and illegal; that is the difference.”