Government plans to reconvene committee behind Russia report - but choice of chair could be rejected
- Credit: Paul Toeman
The committee behind a classified report into Russian interference in UK elections is expected to reconvene shortly, but Number 10's choice of chair could be rejected by MPs.
Chris Grayling - the former transport minister - could be rejected as chair of the The Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) in a vote by opposition MPs on the panel.
A motion on the membership of the committee - which has not sat since December, the longest period in its history - is being put to parliament on Monday and Grayling's name has been touted to lead it.
You may also want to watch:
If successful, it could pave the way for the release of the long-delay Russia report.
- 1 The deep roots of Labour's red wall decline
- 2 Labour needs more positivity, more patriotism, more policy... and less wokery
- 3 Andy Burnham urges UK to 'embrace' Brexit as 'new reality'
- 4 A view from inside the Heathrow petri dish
- 5 MANDRAKE: Boris Johnson's 'daughter' speaks out
- 6 Former Tory speaker admits voting Labour after labeling Boris Johnson a 'liar'
- 7 Dominic Raab 'chickened out' of a no-deal Brexit, Michel Barnier says
- 8 The truth about 'buy British'
- 9 Seven reasons Scotland should stay in the Union
- 10 Liz Truss accused of freeports 'catastrophic blunder' following Brexit deals
Boris Johnson has kept the report under lock and key for ten months, arguing it could not be released without the permission of the committee.
The December general election added a delay to the reformation of the committee.
According to the Times, a further delay can partially be explained by the removal Tory MP Theresa Villiers, a provisional member, by No 10 for disloyalty. Villiers defied the party whip on an amendment that would have banned the import of chlorinated chicken in any US trade deal.
The ISC is one of the most important committees in parliament, overseeing seven agencies and departments involved in UK intelligence.
SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford tweeted: 'Seven months to form a committee that has a critical role to play is unacceptable. With so many new members the committee go through an induction process before it is up and running. Who will be Tory appointments and the Tory imposed chair, this committee has to be independent.'
Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse said: 'With the threat of coronavirus, people are rightly worried and need a government they can trust. Boris Johnson has failed to do that with his conspicuous delay to reconvening the intelligence committee.
'After months of pressure from Liberal Democrats and others, I am glad the committee is due to be restored. However, it should never have needed this fight. The prime minister has a lot to do to claw back public confidence.
'At the top of the list for the intelligence committee must be forcing the government to publish the report into Russian interference of our democracy, and before the summer recess so MPs can scrutinise it.
'A failure to do so would damage the UK's standing in the world and continue to raise further questions about the Conservative Party's deep connections to Russian oligarchs.'
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.