Russia report: PM urged to set up security committee

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image captionThe Intelligence and Security Committee report into potential Russian interference in British politics has not been published

The PM has been urged to set up a key parliamentary committee so a long-awaited report into alleged Russian interference in UK politics can be published.

The Petitions Committee called on the PM to take action after 100,000 people signed a petition on the issue.

It said there had been "extensive delays" to the appointment of the Intelligence and Security Committee.

Government sources told the BBC last month the ISC would be set up soon.

The committee is appointed by Number 10 and oversees the UK's intelligence community.

It has been more than six months since it has met - the longest hiatus since it was established in 1994.

In a letter addressed to the prime minister, Petitions Committee chairwoman Catherine McKinnell said she was writing "to put to you the views of the more than hundred thousand people who have signed this petition, calling for the Russia report to be published".

She urged Mr Johnson to "expedite the establishment" of the Intelligence and Security Committee to enable publication.

Ms McKinnell highlighted the government's response to the petition, saying it noted that it took more than five months after the 2017 general election to appoint the committee.

"However, it has now been almost seven months since the 2019 general election," she said.

Given the "ongoing interest" she has asked for a response by Monday 13 July.

The results of the inquiry into alleged Russian interference were passed to Boris Johnson in October last year. The inquiry began in November 2017.

Mr Johnson has promised MPs it will be published, but the committee needs to be formed first.

Opposition parties have previously accused the government of delay to escape scrutiny.

A government response to the Russia report petition in March said: "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."

And last month the PM's spokesman said the government wanted to get the committee up and running as soon as circumstances allowed.

But he added that the last few months has seen an unprecedented situation in government and Parliament.

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