Saturday, December 4

No 10 blocks Russia report



A potentially explosive parliamentary report on the security threat posed by Russia to the UK has been effectively blocked from being published before the general election by Downing Street.

The 50-page document from the intelligence and security committee (ISC) examined allegations that Kremlin-sponsored activity distorted the result of the 2016 EU referendum – but has to be cleared by No 10 before it can be released.

Downing Street indicated late on Monday morning that it would not approve publication before parliament is dissolved on Tuesday evening, meaning that it cannot now appear before the election on 12 December.

A Downing Street spokesman declined to outline when the report would eventually be published, saying: There are processes reports such as this have to go through before publication, and the committee is well informed of these.

The committee chairman, Dominic Grieve, has previously said that he was concerned about the delay in clearing the keenly awaited report.

Over the weekend the MP, a former attorney general, said: If the prime minister has a reason why he can’t publish or doesn’t wish this report to be published we need to know about it please.

Christopher Steele, the former MI6 spy who authored a dossier about Donald Trump’s links to Moscow, gave written evidence to the inquiry. His firm Orbis has documented attempts by Russia to influence election outcomes in several European states as well as the US presidential election in 2016.

The ISC’s Russia report is understood to examine allegations that Russian money has flowed into British politics in general and the Conservative party in particular. It also features claims that Russia launched a major influence operation in 2016 in support of Brexit.