The row hinges on whether or not a report by the intelligence and security committee should be released before the general electionby Prospect Team / November 5, 2019 / Leave a comment
Wait, what? Isn’t allegations of Russian election meddling a US story?
It is—and this story is related. Late last week, it was reported that former MI6 Russia desk head Christopher Steele, who investigated Trump’s links with Moscow, had also made submissions to a parliamentary intelligence committee on Russian interference in UK politics.
The intelligence and security committee had been examining, amongst other things, claims relating to the EU election in 2016. Their report was due to be published last week.
So, where is it?
According to former Conservative MP and head of the committee Dominic Grieve, the government is sat on it. He told the House of Commons last week that he could see no reason why the report has not yet been released.
Grieve argued that it should be published before the forthcoming General Election, as it contains information that is “germane” to voters.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4, he said: “I think it is widely accepted that the Russians have sought to interfere in other countries’ democratic processes in the past.”
Number 10, however, say that the clearance process of an ISC report is longer than claimed.
Will it be released before the election, then?
The report can only be released when parliament is sitting, which means the last day before the election when it could be published is today. That looks extremely unlikely.
No sign Intelligence & Security Committee Russia report will be published before election.
Lord Howe, deputy leader of House of Lords says @BorisJohnson "will respond to the committee's request to publish the report in due course once the usual processes have been completed" 1/
— Deborah Haynes (@haynesdeborah) November 4, 2019
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.
Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson echoed Corbyn’s comments, saying that as Grieve, who “has seen it,” says it should be published “that makes perfect sense to me.”
What does the report actually say?
According to Buzzfeed, sources say the report shows there is no evidence of Kremlin interference in either the EU referendum or the 2017 general election.
That does not preclude suggestions of other interference, however.
Former Foreign Office head Peter Ricketts has said there is “clear public interest” in the report being released.
Speaking on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland today, Grieve said that the situation was “completely unprecedented” and called for an…