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Intelligence and Security Committee Report on Russia

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:35 pm on 5th November 2019.

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Photo of Emily Thornberry Emily Thornberry Shadow Foreign Secretary 12:35 pm, 5th November 2019

Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for granting this urgent question. May I thank Mr Grieve for securing it and for all his efforts?

I can only echo the words of the right hon. and learned Gentleman about the utterly unjustifiable, unprecedented and clearly politically motivated reasons for delaying the publication of the report until after the election. This is not at the request of the intelligence agencies. There are no foreign powers we have to consult, which was the reason for the delay of the rendition report. This is nothing less than an attempt to suppress the truth from the public and from Parliament, and it is an affront to our democracy.

We are bound to ask: what is Downing Street so worried about? Why would it not welcome an official report on attempted Russian interference in the 2016 referendum, whether that was successful or otherwise? I fear it is because it realises that the report will lead to other questions about the links between Russia and Brexit, and with the current leadership of the Tory party, that risk derailing its election campaign. There are questions about the relationship between the FSB-linked Sergey Nalobin and his “good friend”, the current Prime Minister. There are questions about the Prime Minister’s chief aide, Dominic Cummings, his relationship with Oxford academic Norman Stone, the mysterious three years that he spent in post-communist Russia aged just 23, and the relationships that he allegedly forged with individuals such as Vladislav Surkov, the key figure behind Vladimir Putin’s throne. And there are questions about the amount of money flowing into Conservative coffers from Russian émigrés, about the sources of money that paid for the Brexit campaign, and about the dubious activities of Conservative Friends of Russia.

If the Minister is going to dismiss all that as conspiracy theories or smears and say that it has nothing to do with the delay of the report, I say back to him: prove it. Publish this report and let us see for ourselves. Otherwise, there is only question: what have you got to hide?