MP Kevin Foster: Putin's attack on Ukraine has united western nations

Torbay Weekly

The last fortnight has seen war return to Europe, with a peace between nations which had existed since 1945 shattered by Vladimir Putin.

Russian forces firing on Europe’s largest nuclear power plant was a breach of international law which brought the risk of a disaster which could, depending on which way the wind was blowing, have hit Russia itself.

War crimes have been committed by Russian forces, with unarmed British journalists fired on by a Russian saboteur group.

Given this situation, political parties at Westminster are putting aside normal political dividing lines to stand united, with no more visible sign of this than when the House of Commons gave the Ukrainian ambassador a standing ovation.

Defeating Putin’s forces in Ukraine is vital to stop this conflict spiralling.

UK forces have been involved in training and supplying weapons to many of their Ukrainian counterparts over the last eight years, ensuring they can now mount an effective defence of their homeland.

Other allies are now also sending support, including vital anti-tank weapons.

Putin’s attack has united, not divided, western nations. He will fail.

The question is what price he will expect the Russian people, Ukraine and the world to pay before he does.

MP Pay Rise

We cannot pretend the actions necessary to respond to Putin’s attack on Ukraine will not bring a price for economies across Europe, one which will hit our bay as well.

This is likely to be in the form of increased energy and fuel prices, but it is also inevitable we may see other impacts.

I do not believe MPs should be insulated against the pressures others are facing and can therefore see how odd it looks for IPSA, the independent body which under the law sets the pay MPs receive, to announce a 2.7 per cent pay rise for MPs from April 1.

There will not be a vote on this proposal as back in 2009 the law was changed to end MPs voting on their own pay.

The only option to 'reject' it is a charitable donation.

Back in 2015 I made a pledge to oppose a 10 per cent pay rise proposed and if it went ahead to donate it to charity.

A pledge I renewed in 2017 and 2019, with my Foster’s Fund continuing to operate and distribute funds to local good causes.

Given the current situation, not least in Ukraine, now is not the time for me to get a pay rise, so I will be donating it to charities working in our bay on the same basis I did with the 10 per cent one seven years ago.

Surgery times

My next surgeries are on Friday, March 25, from 3pm to 5pm at 5-7 East Street, Torquay and Saturday, April 2, from 11am until 1pm at Preston Baptist Church, 62 Old Torquay Road, Paignton.

For an appointment you can either email me at or leave a message on 01803 214989.

Surgeries are for personal queries from residents they would like me to help them with, such as housing or welfare, rather than a wider policy debate.

There are also drop-in sessions at my office 5-7 East Street, Torquay between 10am and 1pm, Monday to Friday, where a member of my team will be available to help with any queries.