back to top

Britain's Defence Secretary Has Quite Literally Told Russia To "Go Away" And "Shut Up"

"Russia responds: Your mum should go away and shut up."

Originally posted on
Updated on

In the wake of the UK government's moves to expel Russian diplomats for the poisoning of a former spy on British soil, all eyes were on a speech from the new defence secretary, Gavin Williamson, on Thursday.

Jack Taylor / Getty Images

Williamson tackled the issue head-on, calling the act "absolutely atrocious and outrageous" and saying, "Frankly, Russia should go away, it should shut up."

"Frankly Russia should go away, it should shut up" - UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson asked about Russia's response to its diplomats being expelled https://t.co/MoQBur2QI3 https://t.co/xr94PxX23c

"If they do respond to the action we’ve taken or consider it carefully, we’ll look at our options but it would be wrong to pre-judge their response," Williamson said.

Soon after, the prime minister's office released a joint statement from the leaders of the UK, France, Germany, and the United States that said there was "no plausible alternative explanation" to Russia being behind the attack.

"The United Kingdom briefed thoroughly its allies that it was highly likely that Russia was responsible for the attack," the statement said. "We share the UK assessment that there is no plausible alternative explanation, and note that Russia´s failure to address the legitimate request by the UK government further underlines its responsibility."

But it was Williamson's taunt that led to this absolutely hilarious scene on televisions around the country.

I see Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has been taking diplomacy lessons from my 4-year-old son.

*Record scratch* *Freeze frame* Hi, my name is Gavin Williamson. You're probably wondering: how did I get here?

Good to know even the defence secretary likes to dabble in a bit of schoolyard banter.

Defence secretary, Gavin Williamson: "Frankly, Russia should go away and shut up." Good to know we're ruled by Sensible Grown-ups, eh.

Great military speeches Churchill: "We will fight then on the beaches." Roosevelt: "We have nothing to fear, but fear itself " Napoleon: Teach the world." Gavin Williamson: "Go away and shut up!" https://t.co/DExnMaxsSB

Gavin Williamson has told Russia to "go away and shut up", which my sources tell me is a strategic step up from "go to your room and think about what you've done."

"Frankly the Russians should go away--" "Gavin. Gav." "And they should shut up--" "Gavin Williamson. Mate. Take the flags off your head." https://t.co/jZ1c4e2DbM

At least he's better than the other one, right? Right?!

Just seen this reminder of the snappy quotes we used to get from @PhilipHammondUK when he was defsec. Quite a contrast to: “Russia should go away and shut up” from current @DefenceHQ incumbent @GavinWilliamson https://t.co/8EY7RUiv3I

The sad demise of UK statesmanship and diplomacy https://t.co/yk5PnlYkcs

People started wondering whether we could soon see the first ever diplomatic "shut up yourself" coming from the Kremlin.

@lukeblackall Russia responds: Your Mum should go away and shut up

Instead, Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov hit back at Williamson on Friday with a suggestion that “maybe he lacks education”.

He added that the Kremlin had stopped paying attention to Britain's comments over the allegations.


Mark Di Stefano is a media and politics correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Mark Di Stefano at mark.distefano@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.