Boris Johnson calls on Keir Starmer to boot out Diane Abbott and John McDonnell over Russia remarks

Members of Stop the War Coaliton from the Labour Party feel Nato expansion into Ukraine has incensed Vladimir Putin.

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Keir Starmer is facing calls from Boris Johnson to boot out backbench MPs, including John McDonnell and Diane Abbott, as they claimed the Western defence alliance has to take some responsibility for the tensions in Eastern Europe.

Members of Stop the War Coaliton from the Labour Party feel Nato expansion into Ukraine has incensed Vladimir Putin.

The claims match those made from Moscow, where a build-up of thousands of troops along the Ukrainian border has been defended, with officials saying Russia has been forced into the action due to a Western military build-up.

Speaking in PMQs, the Prime Minister called on Keir Starmer to remove the Labour whip from MPs who are reinforcing the Kremlin's narrative.

He said: "Something that would be strong, Mr Speaker, would be to take the whip away from the 14 members of the Labour Party who say that the aggressor in Ukraine is Nato.

"That would be a strong thing to do".

Earlier in the session, Boris Johnson had praised his counterpart for supporting the actions taken by the government in sanctioning Russia.

"What is at stake, be in absolutely no doubt, is not just the democracy of Ukraine but the principle of democracy around the world," he said.

"That is why the unity of this House is so important today, and it is absolutely vital that the United Kingdom stands together against aggression in Ukraine".

The Labour Party currently boasts 12 MPs who are part of the Stop the War Coalition, with a further two in the House of Lords.

In addition to John McDonnell and Diane Abbott, members include: Richard Burgon, Ian Lavery, Zarah Sultana, Apsana Begum, and Tahir Ali.

Jeremy Corbyn is also the Stop the War Coaltion vice-president.

The former leader is not counted among the Labour MPs associated with the group, after he had the whip withdrawn from him in 2020 over misconduct following an investigation into anti-Semitism in his party. He remains a Labour Party member.