The Liberal Democrats have written to the Cabinet Secretary, Mark Sedwill, to demand that everything in his power is done to ensure the publication of the Intelligence and Security Committee's report before the dissolution of Parliament.
In the letter, Chuka Umunna MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow Foreign Secretary, raises concerns that No.10 are sitting on the Intelligence Security Select Committee's report on potential Russian interference in the UK's democratic process. The report contains information of significant relevance to the upcoming General Election.
Umunna calls on the Cabinet Secretary to clarify the process and timelines for publication of such a report and to confirm if it is standard protocol that the Prime Minister should respond to the Chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee in ten days (27 October 2019).
The letter states:
Dear Sir Mark Sedwill,
As you will be aware, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has failed to publish the anticipated report compiled by the cross-party Intelligence and Security Committee.
The report, which examines a host of issues related to Russia, including Russian interference in democratic processes, was expected on Thursday and will contain information that I believe should be in the public domain before the country goes to the polls.
There is no good reason for the Prime Minister to delay the report’s publication. People must be given all information about Russian involvement in British politics prior to the General Election. Failing to provide this information demeans our democratic process.
Number 10 have sat on this report since 17th October. As the Chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee Dominic Grieve MP has highlighted, the usual ten-day wait for publication has now long-passed. The insistence by Government figures that there is nothing unusual about this delay would therefore seem inaccurate. I would be grateful if you could clarify if and why this standard protocol has been cast aside and what action you intend to take to expedite the publication of this report before the dissolution of Parliament.
Understandably, there is particular interest in the findings of this report given reports in the Sunday Times this weekend about Senior Number 10 Adviser, Dominic Cummings. These reports suggest that despite reportedly having received Developed Vetting status, he is prevented from seeing some aspects of Government business. I would ask you to clarify if this is the case, and if so why it is necessary to prevent him seeing certain aspects of business, which is a situation I do not believe to be routine for someone holding such a level of security clearance.
Given the range of potential implications for our democracy, I therefore urge you to clarify the process and timelines for publication of such a report, to expedite the publication of the report and to confirm what level of access to sensitive Government documents Dominic Cummings has.
Chuka Umunna MP
Liberal Democrat Shadow Foreign Secretary