Popular writer and commentator Mary Dejevsky, who was also a witness at the UK Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Select Committee Inquiry on UK-Russian relations, told Sputnik Radio that the "top line of the report" was that the UK needs to revise its entire policy towards Russia.
"The point is made that the UK’s relations with Russia are probably worse than those of any other country with Russia, whether in Europe or the United States; and that the British have taken a harder line on controversies such as Ukraine and Syria which makes the policy in some ways more difficult to change and could leave Britain isolated," Dejevsky elaborated.
She pointed out however that the report itself looked like it was attempting “to accommodate two quite different views, hinting at a possible division among the members of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
"One of them was a recommendation for engagement and the other, as a theme running through, was ‘we mustn’t appear to be soft on Russia’, that Russia’s policy is hostile to the West… These two different of views seem to coexist in the report which suggests to me that there a some divisions among the members of the committee," Dejevsky said.
Furthermore, if London refuses to change its stance on Russia it risks becoming isolated as powerful nations like the US, France and Germany appear quite eager to improve relations with Moscow. Dejevsky mentioned however that "Donald Trump’s intentions of resetting relations with Russia appear to be on a bumpy path" so it remains unclear "if and when" he’ll be able to implement them, but if the US and Europe actually change their attitude towards Russia then the UK may find itself in a rather unpleasant situation.
"If there’s no change in British policy then UK risks becoming more isolated because if there’s a change in American policy, and if elections in Europe produce changes in policy, especially on the part of France that might very well take a more friendly stance… The general impression you have is that France and maybe Germany are looking towards taking a rather friendlier attitude towards Russia and they have the pretext of elections that would give them, as it were, the possibility of changing their policy. We don’t at the moment have any elections in prospect so that changing British policy would actually be quite difficult. But if we don’t, then policy changes in Europe and it changes in the United States, then the UK looks very isolated," Dejevsky said.
But at the same time, the parliamentary committee’s recommendation on reengaging with Russia actually provides the British government with "cover for changing policies towards Russia" which London may "use to everybody’s benefit", she remarked.