ENGLAND should boycott the World Cup if FIFA fail to withdraw the competition from Russia, believes MP Tim Farron.

The comment comes as the fallout from the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter escalated yesterday when PM Theresa May issued an ultimatum to President Vladimir Putin - saying Moscow was 'highly likely' to be behind the attack.

Mrs May said if an explanation why a 'military-grade nerve agent of a type developed by Russia' used in the attack was not offered by midnight tonight (Tuesday) then Britain would consider it 'an unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the United Kingdom.'

England are one of 32 teams due to compete in the football tournament this summer, but Mr Farron said countries 'cannot just show up and hand Putin his PR victory'.

“If Russia is guilty of this appalling crime then we should boycott the World Cup," said Mr Farron, the MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale.

“I would call on all our EU and NATO allies to follow suit. Russia's choice to be an international bully must be met with a response that hits them where it really hurts, their pride.

“The World Cup this summer cannot go ahead as if nothing has happened, and civilised democratic peace-loving countries cannot just show up and hand Putin his PR victory.

“I am a football fanatic, I love the World Cup, I am proud that my country has qualified. But we cannot just stand by and let a bully win.”

Skripal, 66, and his 33-year-old daughter, Yulia, remain in critical condition after being found unconscious March 4 in Salisbury