SALISBURY'S MP has blasted "absurd" claims that the two prime suspects in the nerve agent attack were visiting the city because they wanted to see the cathedral.

"I just thought it was a preposterous display of propaganda that would be laughable if it wasn't for what actually happened in Salisbury," John Glen told the Journal.

The claims were made during an interview on Russian state-sponsored television channel RT yesterday, when Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov denied any connection to the poisoning of Sergei Skripal on March 4.

The pair, named by counter-terror police as the prime suspects and confirmed to be Russian intelligence agents by Theresa May last Wednesday, said they had come to Salisbury to visit the famous cathedral.

"The notion that two people would travel several thousands of miles to Salisbury Cathedral and expect us to believe that it was just an innocent tourist trip on the same day that one of their former countrymen and his daughter were taken ill with Novichok poisoning is absurd," Mr Glen added.

The claims made by Petrov and Boshirov sparked debate about the plausibility of their story from commenters around the world.

They confirmed they were the two men shown in CCTV images released by the Metropolitan Police, but denied any criminal activity.

"We arrived in Salisbury and tried to walk through the town, but we lasted for only half an hour because it was covered in snow,” Petrov said.

“Of course, we went there to see Stonehenge, Old Sarum, but we couldn’t do it because there was muddy slush everywhere."

And Boshirov said they were in the city for less than an hour, adding: "Maybe we did [approach] Skripal’s house, but we don’t know where is it located.”

But many were quick to point out that on March 4, the second day the two Russians visited Salisbury, the snow from previous days had cleared, and both CCTV images of Ruslan and Boshirov, and pictures taken by the Journal when the Skripals fell ill show completely unobstructed pathways.

Many also queried why the pair would stay in a budget hotel in East London if they were travelling to the UK for two days, and expected to spend both in Salisbury.

Questions were also raised about why the men did not actually visit Salisbury Cathedral, instead walking in the wrong direction from the train station and ending up near Sergei Skripal's home in Christie Miller Road, where he was later poisoned by Novichok on his door handle.

Mr Glen said the interview by the two Russians was "a very poor attempt to reset the narrative".

"The truth is that the Russian state was complicit in this attempted murder and our allies have reacted in line with the findings the prime minister shared last week," he added.

"The only thing I can agree with them on is that Salisbury is a fantastic place, and I will be doing all I can with business leaders to promote tourism next year and beyond."