Submitted by Dill Westermann-Childs on Tuesday 3rd March 2020
Published on Wednesday 4th March 2020
Current status: Closed
Closed: Friday 4th September 2020
Publish the Russia report
Lift the restriction on publishing the report on Russia’s spying activities against the UK and its attempts to penetrate the British establishment. This will require the re-establishment of the Intelligence and Security Committee so that it can be immediately published.
The timing of the suppression of the Russia report in November 2019 was far too convenient for the present government which won an increased majority in the elections in Dec 2019. Questions were being asked about why, since it had already been cleared by the Prime Minister, had it not been published before the election. The continuing suppression of the report is doing nothing to raise the confidence of the British people in the integrity of the electoral process.
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The Government responded to this petition on Thursday 19th March 2020
The Prime Minister cleared the ISC’s Russia report on 13 December 2019. The Russia Report is the property of the ISC and is for them to publish once the normal reappointment process is complete.
The Government welcomes the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament’s (ISC) Inquiry into Russian activity against the UK. This is an important subject which has clearly captured the public interest.
ISC reports must go through a number of clearance processes before publication. This includes the Prime Minister carefully ensuring that reports do not include material that would undermine the work of those who protect our national security, a vital and statutory obligation as set out in the Justice and Security Act 2013.
The former Committee - former because all ISC members stood down at the dissolution of Parliament for the December 2019 General Election - submitted the report for final clearance to the Prime Minister just before the General Election. The Prime Minister carefully considered the report and provided clearance following the election purdah period on 13 December 2019.
The Russia report remains the property of the ISC and it is for them to publish ISC reports. The ISC is regulated by the Justice and Security Act 2013. Section 3(6) provides that the “ISC must lay before Parliament any report made by it to Parliament”. The effect of taking a report to Parliament is to place it in the public domain, this is a statutory requirement, which can only be completed by a sitting ISC.
Once the new Committee has been re-appointed, it will be for the ISC to decide when the Russia report should be published. Members of the ISC are appointed by Parliament having been nominated by the Prime Minister in consultation with the Leader of the Opposition. The new Committee is being formed in the normal way and at the normal pace. Following the 8 June 2017 General Election, the Committee was appointed on 16 November 2017.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
This petition has reached the threshold for a Parliamentary debate, but the debate has not been held. The Petitions Committee gave the following explanation.
Because it has not been possible to debate this petition to date, and the issues raised by this petition have been acted on by the Government and considered by the Committee and in the House of Commons in other ways, the Committee has agreed not schedule this petition for debate.
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