THERESA May has come under new pressure to stop Russia using British shell firms to bypass sanctions and launder money.

The UK Government is currently considering a consultation on the future of Scottish limited partnerships or SLPs after the entities were linked to industrial-scale criminality.

However, the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford urged Mrs May to move faster and harder. Speaking in parliament, he said: “SLPs have been used to move more than $80 billion from Russia in just four years, according to our own Government. “All action must be taken to stand up to this abuse of power and to show that we are prepared to take Russia on over human rights abuses and money laundering.”

Mrs May replied: “The Home Office has been looking at this issue with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. We intend to introduce legislation to cover a range of abuses, and I am sure that the Security Minister[Ben Wallace] would be happy to speak to him about that.”

The SNP has renewed its calls for the UK government to introduce tougher sanctions on Russia - following Prime Minister’s latest statement on the Salisbury attack.

Responding to the statement, SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford praised the work of UK emergency and security services, reiterated the SNP’s support for a firm and robust response to Russia, and called on the UK government to go further to make it absolutely clear to the Russian authorities that the UK will not tolerate activities that infringe international law.

The MP repeated the SNP’s call for tougher action on Russian money laundering, and urged the UK government to take action to tackle the use of Scottish Limited Partnerships (SLPs) which can funnel millions of pounds in dirty money.

Speaking in the House of Commons, SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford MP said:

“The attack on Mr Skripal and his daughter was an unlawful use of force by the Russian state on the streets of Salisbury. The Scottish National Party is fully committed to working constructively with the Government to ensure that all is done to protect the public.

“The dedication and commitment of the security services and police to routing out these criminals is absolutely critical to securing the safety of citizens here and on behalf of the SNP, I send my sincerest thanks for their efforts.

“The threat from Russia must always be met by a united front, all of us together standing in solidarity against its abuse of power. Only together will we take on the abuse of state power by the Kremlin and only then can we ensure that we work towards a peaceful future for citizens across the UK – and beyond.

“The SNP have consistently called for the introduction of tougher sanctions on Russia and all action must be taken to stand up to this abuse and take on the Russian abuse of state power. This includes action by the Government to tackle Russia’s abuse of Scottish Limited Partnerships, which have been used to move $80bn from Russia in just four years according to the UK Government.”