Politics

Russia report to be published on Tuesday


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PA

A long-awaited report on the nature of Russian interference in UK politics will be published on Tuesday morning.

The publication has been delayed since before the 2019 election, because it relied on a decision by the Intelligence and Security Committee, which was not reformed until last week.

The government has been accused of delaying the formation of the committee to avoid scrutiny.

Downing Street denied that the delay was due to political reasons.

The report is expected to assess the extent of Russia’s interference in the 2017 election and the 2016 Brexit referendum.

Last week, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said such interference was “almost certain” to have happened.

It was already known that the report would be published this week after the newly established committee voted unanimously to release it before the Commons rises for its summer break on Wednesday.

It comes after a row over the election of Julian Lewis as the committee’s new chair.

Dr Lewis lost the Conservative party whip after he was elected by the other members of the committee ahead of Chris Grayling, who was believed to be No 10’s preferred choice for the role.

It is expected that the report will include details of Russia’s use of new techniques like cyber-espionage and social media campaigns to interfere in political life.

The BBC’s security correspondent Gordon Corera says it will also include details of Russian influence, and particularly money, which critics argue has seeped into public life and compromised various institutions.

Ever since last autumn, barely a week has gone by at Westminster without someone demanding to know when we would see what has become known as the ‘Russia report.”

It cropped up frequently as a question during the general election campaign before Christmas, with critics of the government asking what it was trying to hide.

Ministers insisted normal practice was being followed before the publication of a potentially sensitive document.

The delay dragged on as it took ages for a new Intelligence and Security Committee to be put together after the election. That only happened last week.

Now – finally – we’ll get to read what its predecessor committee, the politicians on it before the election, had to say.



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