On 15 March the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe unanimously voted to request that the Russian Federation be expelled from the Council of Europe.
A special session of the Parliamentary Assembly took place to provide advice to the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers on what action they should follow next with regard to Russia. The Committee of Ministers, led by the UK, had already suspended Russia from any voting or representational rights at the Council but further action was required in view of the worsening situation in Ukraine.
Ukraine is a member of the Council of Europe and its women MPs, together with their children attended the debate whilst male MPs stayed at home to fight.
The Assembly voted unanimously that “the Russian Federation can…… no longer be a member State of the Organisation” and asked that they should be expelled. The decision was taken at the end of a debate in which almost 200 members of the Parliamentary Assembly spoke.
John Howell MP, the Leader of the Delegation said, “12 members of the UK Delegation were on the order paper to speak. It did not matter which political party they belonged to, we were all of one mind; Russia needed to be expelled for the grave violations of all that the Council stands for having invaded Ukraine. It gave a very clear message that they should go.”
Tony Lloyd, leader of the Labour MPs and Peers on the Delegation said, “This showed the Council of Europe at its best. It showed that we all supported the European-wide ideals of democracy, the rule of law and the protection of human rights. It was very good to see the harmony in the meeting as individual after individual condemned Russia.”
Amongst the UK speakers were: John Howell MP, Tony Lloyd MP, Sir Christopher Chope MP, Paul Howell MP, Jane Stevenson MP, Richard Holden MP, Geraint Davies MP, the Earl of Dundee, Lord Foulkes, Lord Griffiths, Lord Blencathra.
The Russians tried to pre-empt the decision by withdrawing from the Council of Europe. But it was the view of the Parliamentary Assembly that they should not be allowed to jump before they were pushed and the vote continued.
Notes to Editors
- The Parliamentary Assembly is the deliberative body and the driving force of the Council of Europe, to which parliamentarians are appointed by the national parliaments of the Assembly’s 47 member states.
- A list of Members of the UK Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is available here. The Leader is John Howell OBE MP