News | Published November 01 2019

No.10 will not release report into Russian election interference

No.10 has been criticised for not releasing a report into potential Russian interference in both the 2016 EU referendum and the 2017 General Election.

Complied by the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee, led by Dominic Grieve MP, the report was sent to the prime minister’s office on 17 October. 

On Monday morning, Downing Street stated they would not release the report before the dissolution of parliament tomorrow evening. 

Because of this, the report will not be published before this year's December election and will likely only be released halfway through next year.

As the report details the possibility of interference in domestic elections, MPs have criticised the government for not publishing its contents before the country goes to the polls on 12 December.

The 50-page report was based on evidence given by GCHQ, MI5 and MI6.

Responding to these criticisms, a No.10 spokesperson said: “There are a number of administrative stages/processes which reports such as this – which often contain sensitive information – have to go through before they are published.”

The spokesperson added that this process “usually takes several weeks to complete.”

According to Mark Urban, Newsnight’s diplomatic and defence editor, those close to the committee claim that this process could have been completed in 10 days. 

Dominic Grieve, who leads the committee responsible for collating the report, had hoped for the full report to be published by 28 October.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Grieve said: “Parliament and the public ought to have and must have access to this report in the light of the forthcoming election and its really unacceptable for the prime minister to sit on it. It’s already been very carefully looked at by the Cabinet Office.”

Ben Bradshaw, MP for Exeter, said that the government’s refusal to release the report reflected badly on No.10. He argued: “People will be justified in drawing the conclusion that the report’s findings are compromising or worse for the government and the Tory party.”

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Authored by

George Salmon
Political Editor
November 01 2019

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