PRIME Minister David Cameron and Labour leader Ed Miliband seized on the Malaysia Airlines MH17 tragedy to demand tougher sanctions against Russia yesterday.
The gung-ho Mr Cameron presented himself in the Commons as champion of a campaign to persuade all 28 EU states to impose sweeping sanctions on trade, financial services and arms.
Urging clear decisions at today’s EU foreign affairs council meeting, he complained that for too long many European countries had been reluctant to back stronger sanctions.
A Downing Street spokesman admitted that some EU states were not keen to impose tougher sanctions against Russia for fear of the effects on their own economies.
Mr Miliband made a speech to the Centre for American Progress in Washington demanding close co-operation with the US and tougher sanctions against Russia.
“Europe and America must stand together as they have at crucial moments in the past,” declared the Labour leader.
He said evidence was growing that the shooting down of MH17 was “not simply a tragedy but a crime.”
The international community had not done enough to show that “Russian aggression cannot be allowed to stand,” claimed Mr Miliband.
“European unity must not be an excuse for European inaction.”
Chancellor George Osborne declared yesterday that he wants tough action, even though further sanctions would have “an economic impact” on Britain.
During sombre Commons exchanges on the Gaza bloodbath, Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman emphasised: “The life of a Palestinian child is worth every bit as much as an Israeli child.”
There were murmurs of dissent when Mr Cameron repeatedly laid most emphasis on the need for Hamas to stop rocket attacks on Israel.
Former minister Peter Hain said that, as a friend of Israel, he must speak the truth.
Israel’s attacks in Gaza were not simply disproportionate, he declared. “In any other conflict they would be described as war crimes.”
Leading Lib Dem Menzies Campbell said pointedly that if Britain had been attacked with such rockets, then he hoped that the response would be proportionate, consistent with international law, and with appropriate regard to the safety of men, women and children.
Jewish Labour MP Gerald Kaufman called for condemnation of the Israeli massacre in Shujiya at the weekend which “killed 67 Palestinian innocents.”