What has the government got to hide with Jennifer Arcuri and Russian interference?

Jennifer Arcuri and Vladimir Putin are both subject of investigations and reports. Photograph: ITV/P

Jennifer Arcuri and Vladimir Putin are both subject of investigations and reports. Photograph: ITV/PA/TNE. - Credit: Archant

Brexit might be happening - but this shouldn't be the time to stop holding Boris Johnson to account.

Has the shock of Johnson's victory been so overwhelming that both his opponents and the media have given up calling him to account?

As early as September 27, it was announced that the Greater London Authority had asked the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) to assess whether the prime minister should be formally investigated over potential misconduct in public office as regards his dealings with Jennifer Arcuri when mayor of London. Then, early in the electoral campaign - almost six weeks later - the IOPC made an incredible move: to put off until after the election their decision to investigate Johnson at all.

The IOPC's time was up three weeks ago: Why have we still not been told? And what about the Intelligence and Security Committee's report on alleged Russian influence in British politics which Johnson hid from public scrutiny throughout the same election campaign? His pretext, that more time was needed for the report to go through the correct Whitehall process, was dismissed in early November by the ISC's chairman himself, Dominic Grieve, former attorney general.

He described that excuse as "completely inaccurate, misleading and wrong", since the report had already been cleared by the intelligence agencies. Why shall we apparently have to wait a further six months to see it - if we ever see it at all?


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Paul Smith

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