The publication of a report into potential Russian interference in the 2016 EU referendum has been effectively blocked by the government until after the general election.
The 50-page document from the intelligence and security committee examines allegations that Kremlin-sponsored activity distorted the result of the 2016 EU referendum, but has to be cleared by No 10 before it can be released.
Downing Street said today it would not approve publication before parliament was dissolved on Tuesday evening, meaning it cannot appear before the election on 12 December.
The committee’s chairman, Dominic Grieve, said the decision to prevent publication before the election was “jaw-dropping” and that he could not understand on what basis it had been made.
Speaking to The Guardian, he said: “The protocols are quite clear.
“If the prime minister has a good reason for preventing publication he should explain to the committee what it is, and do it within 10 days of him receiving the report.
“If not, it should be published”.
Cleared by spy agencies
A final draft of the Russian dossier, the product of 18-months’ work, was sent to Downing Street on 17 October and was originally intended for publication early this week, with political approval expected by the end of last week.
The report has already been cleared by Britain’s spy agencies, which contributed to the research.
A No 10 source has claimed the approval time is normal and that there was nothing unusual about the delay.
What does the government have to hide?
But opposition politicians have accused Johnson of presiding over a cover-up.
The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, said over the weekend that the report should be published and asked what the government had to hide.