Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey has called on the UK Government to use cash from Russian sanctions to mitigate energy price rises in the UK.
The recent invasion in Ukraine is expected to drive up the price of gas if supplies from Russia are impeded or stopped altogether, with fears household bills could see a further increase.
But Sir Ed has urged the Prime Minister to increase the sanctions on associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and use the cash to fund a package of measures to help Britons mitigate any rises.
I think whether it's Putin's cronies or Russian energy firms, I think they should foot the bill of any gas price hike following Russia's invasion of UkraineSir Ed Davey
Speaking to journalists during a visit to Scotland on Friday, Sir Ed said there were “far more” people with links to Mr Putin who could be on the receiving end of sanctions.
“One thing I think we should look at is we go after their assets, freezing them and beginning the process of seizing the assets of Putin’s cronies who have money and property in the UK and using that as a sort of oligarch tax and using some of that money for insulating the UK from the gas price spike that we’re seeing,” he said.
“I think whether it’s Putin’s cronies or Russian energy firms, I think they should foot the bill of any gas price hike following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”
Money seized should go to doubling winter fuel payments and expanding the warm home discount to include up to 7.5 million people in the UK, Sir Ed said.
He also pushed the Government to “do more” from a humanitarian standpoint, saying that the UK should be prepared to take Ukrainian refugees.
“I think the UK should be leading an internationally co-ordinated humanitarian response where the UK is welcoming and prepared to house far more refugees from Ukraine,” the Lib Dem leader said.
“Activists, journalists and others who will be targeted by the Putin regime are desperate to leave Ukraine and I think we need to be part of a co-ordinated effort to host those refugees – and I just think we’re not anywhere near where we need to be.”
Sir Ed has repeatedly called on the Prime Minister to resign over allegations of parties in and around Downing Street during lockdown which are now subject to a police investigation.
He said on Friday that the crisis in Ukraine should not stop Boris Johnson resigning if he is found to have broken the law.
“Yes, of course he should go,” Sir Ed said.
“I absolutely think that Tory MPs need to stand up and be counted, they’re the ones that can make sure that happens and it is a question for Tory MPs to focus on.”
When asked if a resignation could impact the response of the Government to the crisis in Ukraine, he said he had not been “impressed” by the Prime Minister’s response to the issue or to the cost-of-living crisis, adding: “Frankly, I don’t see a problem.
“The UK could manage these problems probably even better with cabinet government, that’s my experience.”