Par­ents’ place ploys

Coventry Telegraph - - NATIONAL - Vladimir Putin

GO­ING to church, buy­ing a sec­ond home or us­ing a rel­a­tive’s ad­dress are some of the tac­tics used by par­ents to get their child into a good school, a re­port has re­vealed.

Al­most a third (30%) of pro­fes­sional par­ents said they know some­one who has used eth­i­cally du­bi­ous means to get their chil­dren into a good school.

The Sut­ton Trust’s Par­ent Power re­port draws on a YouGov sur­vey of 1,017 par­ents of school-age chil­dren who were asked how they choose schools. RUS­SIAN pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin has claimed there is “noth­ing crim­i­nal” about the two men named by Bri­tain as the prime sus­pects in the Sal­is­bury nerve agent at­tack.

Po­lice and pros­e­cu­tors last week said Alexan­der Petrov and Rus­lan Boshi­rov had been iden­ti­fied as mem­bers of the GRU, Rus­sia’s mil­i­tary in­tel­li­gence ser­vice.

Rus­sia has hotly con­tested the al­le­ga­tions and yes­ter­day Mr Putin es­ca­lated the war of words by deny­ing the men were mem­bers of mil­i­tary in­tel­li­gence.

He said his of­fi­cials “know who these peo­ple are”. In an un­usual move, he then called on Petrov and Boshi­rov to ap­pear be­fore the me­dia to talk about “them­selves”.

His in­ter­ven­tion risks widen­ing the gulf be­tween Rus­sia and the UK over the at­tempted as­sas­si­na­tion, which trig­gered a wave of diplo­matic ex­pul­sions by both sides.

For­mer GRU of­fi­cer Sergei Skri­pal and his daugh­ter Yu­lia were left crit­i­cally ill af­ter be­ing ex­posed to the mil­i­tary grade nerve agent Novi­chok in Sal­is­bury in March.

De­tec­tives be­lieve it is likely the two sus­pects, thought to be aged around 40, trav­elled un­der aliases and that Petrov and Boshi­rov are not their real names. Pros­e­cu­tors deem it fu­tile to ap­ply to Rus­sia for the ex­tra­di­tion of the two men but a Euro­pean Ar­rest War­rant has been ob­tained and the au­thor­i­ties are also seek­ing the as­sis­tance of In­ter­pol.

Of­fi­cers have for­mally linked the at­tack on the Skri­pals to events in nearby Ames­bury when Dawn Sturgess, 44, and her part­ner Char­lie Row­ley, 45, were ex­posed to the same nerve agent.

Ms Sturgess died in hospi­tal in July, just over a week af­ter the pair fell ill.

A po­lice of­fi­cer who vis­ited the home of the Skri­pals shortly af­ter the at­tack, Nick Bai­ley, was also left crit­i­cally ill from ex­po­sure to the sub­stance.

Mean­while, politi­cians ap­pear­ing on a Krem­lin-backed broad­caster risk be­ing used as “pro­pa­ganda tools”, Theresa May has told the Com­mons.

Her warn­ing was aimed at for­mer Scot­tish first min­is­ter Alex Sal­mond, who still has his own show on RT, for­merly known as Rus­sia To­day, de­spite pleas to re­con­sider from SNP chiefs. Scot­tish Con­ser­va­tive MP John La­mont raised the is­sue at PMQs, link­ing the broad­caster to the Sal­is­bury at­tacks, which po­lice be­lieve were car­ried out by Rus­sian mil­i­tary spies.

The Ber­wick­shire, Roxburgh and Selkirk MP said: “Given what we know about the Rus­sian state’s in­volve­ment in the Sal­is­bury poi­son­ings, does the Prime Min­is­ter think it ap­pro­pri­ate that par­lia­men­tar­i­ans both cur­rent and for­mer ap­pear on Rus­sian state tele­vi­sion?”

Mrs May re­sponded: “I’m sure we all have doubts about the ob­jec­tiv­ity of the re­port­ing on RT, which does re­main a tool of pro­pa­ganda for the Rus­sian state. De­ci­sions about go­ing on RT are a mat­ter for the judg­ment of each in­di­vid­ual, but they should be clear that they risk be­ing used as a pro­pa­ganda tool by the Rus­sian state.”

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