Published: Thu, November 07, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

United Kingdom delays publishing report on Russian Federation poll meddling

United Kingdom delays publishing report on Russian Federation poll meddling

The British government was accused by opponents of sitting on a parliamentary report examining alleged Russian meddling in British politics because it might contain embarrassing revelations about Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his party.

Dominic Grieve joins us now from Westminster. "I fear it is because they realise this report will lead to other questions to about the links between Russian Federation and Brexit", she told parliament.

"It is a longstanding agreement that the Prime Minister will endeavour to respond within ten days".

Leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn has said he suspects the government will "hide it away until some point in the future", with Grieve also suggesting this morning that there was a risk the report would not be released at all.

Foreign office minister Christopher Pincher defended the government's position on Tuesday and offered no suggestion that the report would be signed off soon, telling Grieve that it was not unusual for reports such as this one to go through "an intensive security review before publication". "Since this has apparently already been redacted by the intelligence agencies there can be no national security reasons to delay publication".

The ISC inquiry is said to have taken evidence from members of the intelligence services and looked into claims that the Kremlin tried to influence the outcome of the European Union referendum in 2016 as well as the following year's general election.

"If it is not laid before Parliament ceases to sit this evening, it will not be capable of being laid until the committee is reformed, and in 2017 that took almost six months", Grieve added.

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That drew an angry response from Labour's Emily Thornberry, with the Shadow Foreign Secretary condemning what she called an "utterly unjustifiable, unprecedented and clearly politically motivated" delay to the report.

Other members of the ISC have also criticized the government's apparent reluctance to release the report.

The report was compiled by Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee and finalised back in March, before being passed onto Downing Street on October 17.

Lord Ricketts said: "The ISC are a highly professional committee and their reports are always worth reading. If not, it should be published", says Grieve.

"He said, in principle, I think it should be released".

"Part of the reason for having an Intelligence and Security Committee is that matters of public interest can be considered properly and the public can be informed through the publication of the reports once they have gone through the security process".

"I think that had there been any evidence, very strong evidence, that Russian Federation had been interfering in the 2016 referendum or 2017 general election, then the government would have brought it to public attention", historian Martin McCauley told RT, adding that Johnson likely does not want any conflict with Russian Federation and that "his main concern is Brexit".

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