Release of Canadian report on foreign meddling puts pressure on UK government to follow suit
The imminent publication of a Canadian parliamentary report into foreign interference in Canadian public life has placed renewed pressure on the British government to release a similar report on Russian interference in British politics.
The chair of the Canadian Parliament’s intelligence oversight committee, David McGuinty, told the BBC on March 13 that his country faces “clear and continuing danger” from “significant and sustained foreign interference”.
McGuinty spoke to the BBC ahead of the publication of his committee’s annual report into foreign interference in Canada’s political system and broader public life.
To underscore the renewed pressure on the British government, the BBC played an old interview with former US Secretary of State (and presidential contender), Hilary Clinton, in which she claims she is “dumbfounded” as to why the British government does not release the report.
The reporting process by the House of Commons’ cross-party Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) was begun in November 2017 and completed in March 2019.
But the government has spent a full year suppressing its findings, prompting observers to speculate as to why the ruling Tories are fearful of releasing the report to the public.
The Sunday Times reported on November 10, 2019, that nine Russian business people who had donated money to the Conservative party are named in the report, which was compiled from secret documents held by the UK’s three core intelligence services, MI5, MI6 and GCHQ.
In the latest development, the Guardian reported today that ministers “have been told” they can no longer claim there have been “no successful examples” of Russian “disinformation” campaigns against British elections.
The latest position comes in the wake of the “apparent hacking” of a National Health Service (NHS) dossier which was exploited by the Labour party during the run-up to last December’s general election.
According to the Guardian, this is the first “official admission” of the impact of Russian disinformation campaigns against British political processes.
The “admission” is set to increase pressure on Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to release the ICS’s long-awaited report.
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