Labour launches bid to force ministers to reveal secret guidance on Evgeny Lebedev peerage

Angela Rayner will trigger a vote to get security advice published following reports the Prime Minister overruled concerns raised by MI5 and MI6

Ministers may have to reveal what guidance civil servants issued about Evgeny Lebedev before Boris Johnson appointed the Russian oligarch’s son to the House of Lords.

Labour will force a binding vote on the release of information given to Boris Johnson before Lord Lebedev was made a peer, following reports the Prime Minister overruled concerns raised by MI5 and MI6.

Using a parliamentary mechanism called a Humble Address, Angela Rayner will call on Cabinet Office minister Steve Barclay to make public the details concerning the appointment. The Cabinet Office plays a central role in the vetting process of Lords.

Lord Lebedev, who owns both the London Evening Standard and the Independent, got his wealth from his Russian oligarch father Alexander Lebedev, a former KGB security officer.

The crossbench peer is known to be close to the Prime Minister, having previously hosted him at a party at his Italian mansion in 2018, when Mr Johnson was Foreign Secretary.

Labour’s Deputy Leader said the government has questions to answer over the appointment and transparency was now “an important matter of national security” amid Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

She said: “The Prime Minister has allowed his friendship with the son and business partner of an ex-KGB agent to blind his primary duty to the British public – to keep them safe.

“The Prime Minister has once again put personal interest before the public’s, and this time he’s risked national security.

“The British public have a right to know if and how an individual of apparent concern to our intelligence services was granted a seat in the heart of our Parliament by Boris Johnson, against security advice.

“This Government’s dangerous links to Putin’s oligarchs are putting Britain at risk.”

The Prime Minister’s former aide, Dominic Cummings, said he was in the room when Mr Johnson was told by Cabinet Office officials that the “intelligence services and other parts of the deep state” had “serious reservations” about the PM’s plan to appoint Lord Lebedev.

Deputy Prime Minister, however, has previously said it is “sheer nonsense” to suggest that Boris Johnson had asked anyone in the security services to revise, reconsider or withdraw their assessment of the media mogul.

Mr Raab said “all individuals nominated for a peerage are done so in recognition of what their contribution is to society”.

“And, I should say, that includes those of Russian origin who contribute brilliantly to our nation, many of whom in this country are critics of the Putin regime,” he said, when pressed over the matter by Ms Rayner in the Commons.

Read More

Read More


Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.