The consecutive UK government and British establishment have turned a blind eye to the influence Russia has in its election.
Moscow has built up a network of friendly British diplomats, lawyers, parliamentarians and other influences from across the political range. This alliance described by one witness as “potentially the most significant threat to the UK’s institutions and its ways of life”.
The final report into Russia meddling in UK politics unpublished by the committee is titled “Russia,” is at the center of a storm in the UK where parliament was dissolved on Wednesday ahead of a general election in December. The committee’s chairman, Dominic Grieve, has accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson of sitting on the report and claimed Downing Street had given “bogus” explanations for not publishing it.
The government have also been accused by opposition politicians of a cover-up, saying it could raise awkward questions about the validity of the Brexit referendum in 2016 and expose the alleged Russian connections to some members in the ruling Conservative party.
An investigation was carried out by the ISC, which provides oversight of Britain’s intelligence and security agencies, and whose nine members are bound by the UK’s Official Secrets Act, was completed in March. Its report was submitted to Downing Street for approval on October 17, after a lengthy period of clearance with the security services.
However, Downing Street has repeatedly denied that the failure to publish the report before the election was politically motivated. The contents of the ISC report have remained tightly under wraps.
Furthermore, the is a written testimony by two of the committee’s witnesses, all of whom warned that Russia had established deep ties to the UK political scene and that not enough had been done about it.
Bill Browder alleges in a written testimony submitted to the committee that, Putin had used the proceeds of illegal asset seizures and money from corrupt sources to develop a “network” of well-connected, and influential British figures, enabling the Kremlin “to infiltrate UK society and to conceal the underlying Russian controllers and their agendas and “Unless tackled, such a network “will have serious detrimental effects on the UK democratic process, rule of law and integrity of the financial systems’’.
Pincher, the government minister, said in parliament on Tuesday that Britain had taken firm action to counter the Russian threat. “The government are prepared to be robust and transparent with respect to Russia — look at the way we carefully collated, assessed, scrutinized and presented the evidence of the Kremlin’s involvement in the attacks in Salisbury and Amesbury, and at the way we built an international alliance that responded to that threat.”
If there is information that we should know about what has happened in previous democratic events and who has tried to interfere, the public has a right to know and the government shouldn’t be keeping it a secret.
The government‘s decision not to publish the ISC report has raised eye brows for critics as this report according to Emily Thornberry could raise difficult questions about links between Moscow and the leadership of Boris Johnson’s Conservative party, and suggested that his director of communications, Dominic Cummings, has questions to answer about a period he spent in Russia in the 1990s.
Some politicians argue that the ISC report has the potential to contain material that could influence voters’ choices at the poll. Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson told Britain’s PA news agency this week that the government should have published the report before the election.
“If there is information that we should know about what has happened in previous democratic events and who has tried to interfere, the public has a right to know and the government shouldn’t be keeping it a secret,” she said.