JEREMY Corbyn has dealt a damaging – if not deadly – blow to the Labour Party by his questioning of the Government’s conviction that Russia was to blame for the nerve gas attack in Salisbury. His words in the Commons were greeted with scarcely-disguised fury by Conservative MPs and – far more importantly – by clear noises of dissent from some Labour backbenchers, appalled at their leader’s attitude, which some saw as unpatriotic.

The shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, performed an impressive act of political contortion by saying he agreed with Theresa May’s assertion that Russia was behind this attack, and at the same time he defended Corbyn by insisting that the leader was merely doing what a responsible Opposition should do, in challenging the Government.

Corbyn is now well ensconced in the Labour leadership. Even so, Labour MPs now have a duty to declare war on Corbyn and to demonstrate to him that his attitude towards this event is out of order. If they want to save the Labour Party from the depredations of the left-wing Momentum movement, they must let Corbyn know that they have had more than they can stomach of hard-left activities.

Some have even talked of setting up a rival party, as happened with the creation of the short-lived SDP in the early 1980s. If Corbyn was confronted with this kind of threat, it might wake him up to the fact that many of his backbenchers now mean business, and that the party’s future could be at serious risk unless he changes course.

PERHAPS someone would gently point out to the anti-fracking campaigners that their protests could be fraught with far more danger than they envisaged.

That is the trouble with people who don’t properly think things through.

Britain is reliant, to a certain although admittedly, by no means to a critical extent, on Russia to keep us properly supplied. And now, with the cold war in danger of escalating, over the Salisbury poisoning outrage, Moscow is warning of further possible action against the UK if tension continues at its present high level. And this could mean Moscow switching off the tap which helps – if only to a small degree – keep Britain’s energy requirements up to speed.

As has been pointed out, there are enough shale gas reserves beneath the surface, especially in the North-West of England, to keep the UK supplied for decades to come. For Britain to have these resources and not to use them, especially in times of crisis like the present, is verging on the criminal.

So I hope the Government makes this point to the anti-frackers, and that they take on board the irresponsibility of their actions. Russia may not be a prime supplier of gas to us, but anyway it is ludicrous that we have to import so much at all when we have unused resources of gas beneath our own feet.

OUR politicians will soon have to move out of Westminster for six years while the crumbling parliamentary building undergoes a thorough overhaul. So why not give them a treat and relocate them for this period in the fine city of York, which has just been named the best place to live in the UK?