Whitehall source claims ‘most interesting parts’ of the Russia report have been left out

PUBLISHED: 10:03 21 July 2020 | UPDATED: 11:26 21 July 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a Cabinet meeting held at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London. Photograph: Simon Dawson/PA Wire

Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a Cabinet meeting held at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London. Photograph: Simon Dawson/PA Wire

A Whitehall source has claimed that chunks of the Russia report have been redacted, raising fresh concerns over the veracity of the report.

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It has fuelled that Downing Street had left out sections which could show Russian interference during recent UK elections and votes.

The report, which comes out after a nine-month wait, alleges that Moscow had meddled in the 2014 Scottish referendum and could be involved in 14 suspicious deaths on British soil.

Another source told the Daily Mail that the findings showed not enough had been done to investigate Russian interference in the Brexit referendum of 2016.

Former MI6 spy Christopher Steele, who was behind the Russia-Trump “dossier” which exposed alleged links between the Kremlin-backed donors and Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, claimed that Downing Street had been “reluctant” to move on intelligence that Russian agents were hampering UK elections.

He told the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC): “My understanding, arising partly from personal experience with the ‘Trump-Russia dossier’, is that this government perhaps more than its predecessors is reluctant to see (or act upon) intelligence on Russian activities when this presents difficult wider political implications.

“Examples of this include reporting on the Kremlin’s likely hold over president Trump and his family/administration and indications of Russian interference in and clandestine funding of the Brexit referendum.”

There are also concerns over the relationship between the Tory party and several wealthy Russian donors. Just last week, it emerged business secretary Alok Sharma sat next to two Russian businessmen at a Tory fundraising dinner this year where it is understood a discussion to build a £1.2 billion pipeline under the English Channel was had.

One of those men, Alexander Temerko, paid £12,000 for his seat and is understood to have given the party £1.3 million in donations over the years.

Temerko was the chief executive of a government-owned arms firm in Russia before moving to the UK and his business partner, Kirill Glukhovskoy, worked as legal advisor at a Russian state oil company.

Downing Street has also faced mounting criticism for not releasing the report sooner. It is believed the delay was caused by Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s chief advisor, who did not want to “give a platform” to former pro-European ISC chairman Dominic Grieve during the Brexit battles last year.

Grieve has welcomed publication of the report.

He said: “I’m delighted it [the Russia report] is finally coming out, it is nine months later than it should have been and there was no good reason not to publish it in October last year.

“Now people will have a better understanding on the threat Russia poses and if we are doing enough to counter it.”

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