UK Accused Of Withholding Russian Meddling Report To Spare Embarrassment

Clay Curtis
November 6, 2019

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.

Speaking to the BBC, Grieve said: "We continue to be very disappointed by the failure of the government to publish this report and to provide any explanation as to why it should not be published".

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

"There are processes reports such as this have to go through before publication".

"It could be that opposition parties will try to bring this subject to public attention if they can, but of course they must discover what is in the report and they would like it to be Borisgate or Russiagate, so as to embarrass the present government", he said.

The minister added: "The average turnaround time is six weeks".

Fears of Russian involvement in the election have been stoked following revelations that Moscow operatives directed a misinformation campaign on Facebook and other social platforms during the 2016 United States presidential election.

Johnson came under fire late on November 4, when it emerged the report compiled by Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee had gone through the standard security-clearance process but that the prime minister's office had not cleared its publication.

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Accusations have also persisted that Russian Federation may have covertly intervened in the Brexit vote earlier that year.

But its findings have yet to be made public - despite Mr Grieve telling the Commons on Tuesday that the report had been cleared by both the intelligence agencies and the Cabinet Office "by early October".

ISC committee chairman Dominic Grieve has complained about the delay.

Moscow has long denied allegations of hacking and meddling in foreign elections through social media disinformation campaigns, which are thought to be piloted by its GRU military intelligence agency.

A separate report on disinformation launched earlier this yr by a U.Ok. parliamentary committee mentioned that there's "robust proof" that overseas actors together with Russian Federation have tried to affect U.Ok. politics.

A spokesperson for Johnson's workplace, 10 Downing Road, disregarded considerations that the report's delay was political in nature. "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. With Parliament due to be dissolved on Tuesday, 25 days before the general election, it is highly unlikely it will be passed for publication until a new government is elected.

Labour, which is now pledging to hold another referendum on European Union membership, is trailing the Conservatives by 11 percentage points in a poll of polls compiled by Britain Elects.

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