EXCLUSIVE: Controversial Russian influence report cannot yet be published as Boris Johnson fails to
A LONG-AWAITED report on the influence of the Kremlin on British politics is no nearer to being published, after members of the committee behind it have still not been set up months after Boris Johnson's new Government was formed, Essex News and Investigations can reveal.
Prime Minister Mr Johnson (above) is believed to be behind the delay after it emerged he has yet to nominate any new members to the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) more than five months after he stormed to power at December's General Election.
The report is expected to contain embarrassing material for the Conservative Party concerning donations from wealthy Russians and their attempts to gain influence in UK politics and to on the outcome of the 2016 EU referendum.
Mr Johnson had refused to clear the document for publication before the election despite receiving it in October.
He promised it would be published after the election, but while most Parliamentary committees have been up and running several weeks, with work underway and reports published, the ISC is yet to be formed and is therefore unable to publish the controversial report.
Essex News and Investigations has been chasing publication of the report since late December.
Last week we were told the committee was no nearer to being formed, but the release of the report would be its first job once formed.
CONTROVERSIAL: The report looked at the influence of the Kremlin on UK politics
An ISC spokesman said in an email: "We have not received any official notification on prospective ISC Membership and there has not yet been any vote on committee membership by the respective Houses of Parliament.
"The intention remains to publish the ISC's Russia report as soon as practically possible after the new committee has been appointed. Once this happens a date will be arranged for the committee to lay the report before Parliament and it will then also be published on the ISC website."
Two months earlier in March the ISC appeared frustrated by the lack of action from Mr Johnson.
A spokesman said then in an email: "I am afraid that members have not yet been appointed to the Intelligence and Security Committee, and therefore the intention continues to be that the ISC's Russia report will be published as soon as practically possible after the new committee has been appointed.
"Members are appointed by the Houses of Parliament after first being nominated by the Prime Minister in consultation with the Leader of the Opposition and, as the ISC is a statutory Committee of Parliament, this process is separate to that followed for the appointment of Parliamentary Select Committee Members."
In January we received a similar email when the ISC said it had no timetable on when its members would be appointed.
ESSEX NEWS AND INVESTIGATIONS OPINION
There must be something in this report worth reading and the Boris does not want us to see. There can be no other explanation for the dithering in the setting up of such an important committee for so long when others are up and running. The frustration of the committe could be seen by the use of the term "I'm afraid" from the spokesman. Come on Boris - get on with it and get it out in the open!