MPs demand report on Russian ‘interference’ be made public

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ISC committee chairman Dominic Grieve has complained about the delay.

Opposition MPs, however, are accusing Prime Minister Boris Johnson of trying to cover up the contents of the report ahead of the crucial general election, suggesting that he must have something to "hide".

The chair of the ISC, former attorney general and MP Dominic Grieve, raised the issue in an urgent question to the government in Parliament on Tuesday, demanding an explanation for "the refusal of the Prime Minister to give clearance to the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament's report on Russian Federation".

"That is why on the 17 October the report was sent to the Prime Minister for final confirmation", he said. He added that according to longstanding agreement, the Prime Minister would endeavor to respond within 10 days.

A government source on Monday hit out at the focus on the ISC report, saying: "ISC's are not supposed to leak, but this one has in a very selective way".

But Mr Grieve pushed back in a Commons question to Foreign Office minister Chris Pincher, as he said claims the report would need "weeks of further inter-departmental consultations" were "plainly bogus".

British investor Bill Browder, who is wanted by Moscow for fraud, also gave evidence on "Russian operations" in the United Kingdom and said he was "disturbed" by the delay in releasing the report.

Number 10 insist they are just following normal procedure.

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"Part of the reason for having an Intelligence and Security Committee is that issues of public concern can be properly considered and the public can be informed through the publication of the reports once they have gone through the security process". "It's not unusual that the turnaround time is what it is".

"They realise this report will lead to other questions about the links between Russian Federation and Brexit", said foreign affairs spokeswoman Emily Thornberry.

The report by parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee has cleared security service clearance but has not yet cleared approval by Johnson's Downing Street office and so will not be published before the December 12 election.

She added: "This is not at the request of the intelligence agencies".

The fruits of an 18-month inquiry, the report had compiled proof from Britain's intelligence companies and different consultants in regards to the extent of Russian interference in Britain's democratic processes.

However, Lord Evans of Weardale, who was MI5 director general until 2013, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that if ministers were not prepared to release it, they should explain why.

"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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