Prime Minister’s Meeting with Alexander Lebedev - Commons Urgent Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:29 pm on 7th July 2022.

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Photo of Lord Collins of Highbury Lord Collins of Highbury Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and International Development), Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Lords 2:29 pm, 7th July 2022

My Lords, the truth about this meeting must come out. This person has been sanctioned by our allies for enabling the invasion of Ukraine and been described by the Russian intelligence agency FSB as a “useful asset”. In the other place, Vicky Ford was unable to offer any clarity; I hope the Minister will do so now. When she was asked whether Boris Johnson informed officials, she could not really answer. She corrected the Statement, which the Minister has just read out, saying that Boris Johnson could not remember whether he told officials. We need to know the truth.

First, did the Foreign Office, the Home Office and the Security Service know about this meeting in advance and did they try to stop it? Secondly, the record of Ministers’ interests says that the then Foreign Secretary accepted hospitality in Italy for himself and a guest, but he travelled home alone. Who was the guest? Finally, it was reported that Alexander Lebedev was trying to arrange a phone call from Italy between the then Foreign Secretary and the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Did that call take place? I note what the Minister said about Boris Johnson writing to the committee, but we need more than that letter—we need a thorough investigation to be held by the Cabinet Secretary. We need to know the truth.