Boris Johnson likens Russia World Cup to HITLER hosting Olympics in 1936 in swipe at Putin

The Foreign Secretary’s comments came after Labour MP Ian Austin called for the England team to boycott the showpiece tournament.

Mr Austin said: “Putin is going to use it in the way Hitler used the 1936 Olympics.”

“I frankly do not think England should be participating in the World Cup.

“I don’t think we should be supporting Putin using this as a PR exercise to gloss over the gross human rights abuses for which he’s responsible.”

He also questioned how England fans could be safe, particularly given the expulsion of British diplomats.

Mr Johnson said: “I think that your characterisation of what is going to happen in Moscow, the World Cup, in all the venues – yes, I think the comparison with 1936 is certainly right.

“I think it’s an emetic prospect, frankly, to think of Putin glorying in this sporting event.”

Mr Johnson also revealed the official responsible for UK fan safety his summer had been kicked out of Russia has part of the tit-for-tat expulsion of diplomats in the wake of the Salisbury nerve agent attack.

He said: ”You can’t imagine anything more counter-productive to the UK’s ability to help fans in Russia, so there is an issue – there is a discussion.”

Giving evidence to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr Johnson said the trail of evidence on the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury led “inexorably” to the Putin regime.

Mr Johnson said: “As we saw in the case of the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, the trail of responsibility for such assassinations and assassination attempts does lead inexorably back to the Kremlin.”

Asked if it was possible that the attack might have been conducted by someone who was “empowered” by Mr Putin but no longer directly under his command, Mr Johnson said: “I think it is our view that when it comes to the use of a Novichok-type nerve agent in Salisbury to attempt to assassinate somebody who had been identified by the Russian state as a target for liquidation, not long after President Putin himself has said that such people would choke on their own 30 pieces of silver or deserve to be poisoned, no matter how exactly it came to be done, the pathway, the chain of responsibility, seems to me to go back to the Russian state and those at the top.”

Earlier, Theresa May faced demands to guarantee the safety of England football fans who travel to the World Cup.

Labour’s Sir David Crausby backed the decision to prevent members of the Royal Family and Government ministers from attending the showpiece event this summer, but questioned how “everyday” football fans will be protected.

The Prime Minister said police are examining what arrangements will be in place, with the Foreign Office “carefully monitoring” the situation and ensuring advice is available.

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, Sir David said: “What is being done to safeguard everyday football fans in what was, in my view, already a dangerous place to watch football – even before the incident in Salisbury?

“What advice will be given to travelling English supporters – many of whom have already bought their tickets – and is she confident that adequate cooperation between our police and the Russian police will protect English fans?”

Mrs May replied: “We want British football fans to be able to be safe when they’re enjoying watching the England team.

“We’re currently working with the police and the police are working very closely and looking at what arrangements will be in place to support the England football fans who do travel to Russia.”

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