An American television presenter has been left dumbfounded by the British government’s decision not to publish the report on Russian interference until after the election.
“You think we’ve got it bad? Spare a thought for our cousins across the pond today,” MSNBC host Rachel Maddow told viewers.
“We’ve got our own drama but our closest overseas ally is having their own very American seeming version of it right now all of a sudden.
“For the past year-and-a-half the intelligence committee in the British parliament, with the help of British intelligence services, have been doing a review about Russian influence operations in the UK.
“The possibility of Russian interference in the Brexit referendum, where the UK surprised everybody in the world by voting to extract itself from the European Union.
“The intelligence report has also been looking at whether Russia more probably has been penetrating and subverting British political institutions, and whether Russian money has been used by the Kremlin to influence British politics and political outcomes.
“They’ve been working on this for a year-and-a-half. They finished it. The finished report is about 50 pages, the intelligence committee has finished it, they put the report through whatever classification review it had to go through, they put in the redactions that were warranted in terms of sensitivities that couldn’t be seen by the public, they got that all done.
“And then there’s one last step.
“They submitted it for one last sign off to Number 10 Downing Street so the British prime minister Boris Johnson could put his signature on it as a formality and then it can be released to parliament and ultimately the public.”
“That process is an official thing in the British parliamentary system – the cabinet office says the prime minister has ten days to have one last look, to affix his signatures and away it goes.”
But Maddow goes on to point out that the ten days has passed, and how it won’t be released before the general election.
“I mean Boris Johnson is only prime minister because the political disaster that is the Brexit vote in the UK, the only reason they’re having another election next month is because of the Brexit disaster in the UK. Here’s the long-awaited report on potential foreign influence in creating the Brexit disaster in the UK in the first place.”
“Prime minister appears to have submarined this thing to keep it away from the British public before they have to go vote to keep him as prime minister.
Branding it a “freaking mess”, the presenter goes on to explain Dominic Cummings’ roll in government and the Vote Leave campaign, and the fact he is also accused of having links to Russia.
Finding the whole thing bemusing, she concludes by telling viewers: “Take comfort, America, it’s not just us!”