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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 Stephen Gethins Stephen Gethins Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) 12:35 pm, 5th November 2019

I pay tribute to Mr Grieve. He and I disagree on a wide range of issues, but his fairness and scrupulousness in holding to account both his own Government and others, such as me, is a credit to the entire House.

The Russian Government’s greatest victims are their own people, with human rights abuses, and human rights and democracy activists, opposition groups and minorities targeted. I spent several years working in the former Soviet Union, and we in the Foreign Affairs Committee have visited as well, and I pay tribute to the bravery of those who campaign for fairness, the rule of law and democracy in that country. Surely the greatest riposte we can make, and the greatest support we can give those campaigners, is to show that democracy, openness and transparency in the UK are something to look up to. I fear that in this case they are not.

I hope the Minister is embarrassed by what he has just heard from the members of the ISC. Their questions were damning, and I am not surprised he did not answer them. Given the threat Russia poses to elections, and given that his Government have wanted an election for months, why is this not a priority? Brexit has taught us that this Government like to hide unhelpful reports—lots of them—so prove me wrong and publish the report.