Jacob Rees-Mogg defends delay to publication of Russia report after fresh calls for its release

Jacob Rees-Mogg in the Commons. Photograph: Parliament TV.

Jacob Rees-Mogg in the Commons. Photograph: Parliament TV. - Credit: Archant

MPs have called for the Russia report to be published before the summer recess after the House of Commons intelligence committee was re-established, leading Jacob Rees-Mogg to defend the delay.

The Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) has yet to publish the report after prime minister Boris Johnson refused to clear it for release ahead of last year's general election.

Shadow Commons leader Valerie Vaz urged the government to publish the report, while her Labour colleague – and ISC member – Kevan Jones said it should be published before parliament's summer recess begins next week.

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Jones, a former defence minister, added: 'The Russia report should actually be produced, before parliament goes into recess because I think that would be very important.

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'Because there's no reason why it shouldn't be. It's been through both the committee, it's been agreed through the redaction process, and it's been agreed by government.'

Vaz criticised the government for the amount of time it took to nominate members for the committee and get it set up.

She said: 'Setting up the committee today (Monday) can't go without some acknowledgement of the delay and perhaps an apology to the House, that would be much appreciated.'

Jones said the government should look to introduce a statutory time-frame for setting up the committee after an election to avoid delays.

Responding for the government, Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg defended the length of time it took to nominate new committee members.

He added: 'I would say that a committee of this importance needs to have the right people on it, and the discussions that are involved when a number of people had to leave… the two Labour members, both of them have no longer returned to parliament, Keith Simpson and Richard Benyon both retired from Parliament.

'We therefore had to form a very new committee and that took time to make sure that the right people with the right level of experience and responsibility could be appointed, would agree to their appointment, and I think we have an exceptionally distinguished committee provided from this House and one in which we can all take considerable confidence.'

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