UK spies trouble

IT is convenient, at this juncture, to blame Russia or the Liberal Democrats – or both – for one of the biggest spy rows to envelop Westminster since the Profumo scandal at the height of the Cold War.

Some perspective is required. Ekaterina Zatuliveter, a one-time Bradford University student, started working for Lib Dem MP Mike Hancock before England kickstarted its failed bid to host football's 2018 World Cup. The two events are totally unconnected – despite the conjecture that is accompanying this scandal that is beginning to resemble an episode of television's Spooks.

Yet, given that Ms Zatuliveter had to be fully vetted before she acquired her House of Commons pass, questions need to be asked of the security services, and their apparently poor judgment. For, if their intelligence was solid, should they not have intervened six months ago when concerns about the role of the MP's aide first came to light? The consequence is an hysterical over-reaction that is likely to ill-serve future relations between Britain and Russia.