Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the decision of the Conservative government to bury a parliamentary report on Russian meddling in UK politics “shameful.”
The report by the parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) on Russian interference in UK democracy has been cleared by the security services. According to the BBC, it includes allegations of espionage, subversion, and election-meddling. It was sent to the British prime minister Boris Johnson on October 17.
However, prime minister Johnson did not approve its publication and, therefore, it will not be seen before the December 12 vote. That means the publication of the report could be delayed for months or it may never see the light of day. Members of the parliament’s intelligence committee have been highly critical of Johnson’s failure to release the report.
“I find it inexplicable that your government will not release a government report about Russian influence. Inexplicable and shameful,” Clinton told the BBC.
“Every person who votes in this country deserves to see that report before your election happens,” Clinton added, going on to compare the US and the UK experiences. Clinton said that the US public should have known Russia’s engagement with the Trump campaign before the election.
“There is no doubt – we know it in our country, we have seen it in Europe, we have seen it here – that Russia, in particular, is determined to try to shape the politics of Western democracies,” Clinton said.
The British government claims that the publication of the report is a matter of normal procedure. Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak told the BBC that the report had to be “properly processed” before being made public. The same view was echoed by Chancellor Sajid Javid, who called the timescale of the publication “perfectly normal.”
That is claim has been rejected by the Chair of the Committee responsible for the report, the Conservative former attorney general Dominic Grieve.
Britain and the US have accused Russia of meddling in their electoral process. Moscow repeatedly denied any meddling, blaming all allegations to anti-Russian hysteria.
The British parliament’s report was completed in March 2019 and includes testimonies and evidence from Britain’s main intelligence agencies, MI5, GCHQ and MI6. The CIA has produced similar reports.
The Labour Party says that the report is not being published to avert any revelations of links between the former campaign manager of the Leave campaign and Johnson’s senior adviser, Dominic Cummings, to Russia.