harrow school
Harrow School is one of the UK's most exclusive schools.Stefan Rousseau/PA Images via Getty Images
  • MPs urged Boris Johnson to ban the children of Russian oligarchs from elite British schools.
  • Super-wealthy Russians have long educated their children at Britain's storied institutions.
  • Johnson resisted a ban, but more limited existing sanctions could have a similar effect.

Boris Johnson should ban the children of Russian oligarchs from enjoying the benefits of elite British schools, Conservative MPs have said. 

The prime minister is coming under increasing pressure to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine by targeting its super-rich, many of whom have interests in the UK and mingle with its high society.

The pressure came after many MPs were unimpressed by an initial wave of sanctions targeting a small number of individuals and institutions. A later wave of measures — including banning Russian planes from UK airspace — followed on Thursday.

Nickie Aiken, the MP for the Cities of London and Westminster, was among those advocating a ban focused on schooling.

"The children of Russians connected to the Kremlin, who may be in schools in this country, should be sent home to Russia and not allowed to benefit from an education in this country," she said in the House of Commons.

A large chunk of Russia's elite have links to London, where they own property, frequent its parties and spend money in its luxury stores and restaurants, as extensively documented by the UK press.

Many also seek the cachet of an elite education, sending their children to England's storied private schools like Eton, Harrow, Winchester, and Charterhouse.

Some 2,300 Russians attend British private schools, per recent stats from the Independent Schools Council cited by The Times of London.

Johnson rebuffed her at the time, saying: "The sins of the fathers, or indeed the mothers, should not be visited on their children, in my view."

But Aiken told Insider she was not deterred by his response and would keep pushing.

"While the children of Ukraine take cover in bomb shelters many children of those close to Putin and the Kremlin enjoy the privilege and safety of our private schools," she said.

"If we want to send a very clear message to the Putin establishment I think sending those who enjoy the benefits of the British establishment home is one way." 

Aiken added: "We have got to hit them in their pockets but also their lifestyles"

Tom Tugendhat, chair of the House of Commons foreign affairs committee, also backed the idea. 

"Putin's princelings are enjoying education in the finest places of our country while he destroys Ukrainian schools," he told Insider.

Government sources indicated that some Russian children could in effect by barred from British institutions if their parents are among the 100 Russians banned this week from having business dealings with the UK.

One diplomatic source, who was granted anonymity to speak frankly, said: "These are people who have international lifestyles.

"They come to Harrods to shop, they stay in our best hotels when they like, they send their children to our best public schools, and that is what's being stopped. 

"So that these people are essentially persona non grata in every major western European capital in the world. That really bites."

Read the original article on Business Insider