Hillary Clinton slams government after they refused to release Russia report before election

12 November 2019, 10:10

The former US presidential candidate said the delay was disgraceful
The former US presidential candidate said the delay was disgraceful. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Hillary Clinton has criticised the government for refusing to release a report examining Russian influence in British politics before the general election.

It will assess the threat posed by Moscow to Britain's democratic processes following an 18-month inquiry into illicit Russian activities in Britain.

The former US presidential candidate said the delay was disgraceful given the election, referencing the proven Russian interference in the 2016 US election.

Mrs Clinton told BBC Radio 5 Live: "I find it inexplicable that your Government will not release a Government report about Russian influence. Inexplicable and shameful. You're having an election.

"People deserve to know what is in that report. We had a somewhat similar problem in 2016."

A report into Russian interference in 2016 US presidential election found illegal interference from Moscow occurred in a "sweeping and systemic fashion", according to special counsel Robert Mueller.

The House of Commons was previously told the report was sent to the Prime Minister for approval on October 17.

Former attorney general Dominic Grieve, who has seen the report, has stressed its publication is essential ahead of the General Election, as it contains information "germane" to voters.

Mrs Clinton stressed the importance of the UK security report being made public before the General Election to allow voters to make informed decisions.

She added: "Donald Trump and his campaign were under investigation for their connections with Russia, and Russians, and Russian cut-outs and Russian agents, and others promoting Russian interests.

"And the public didn't know before the election. And I would hate to see that happen here. Whatever the outcome.

"I don't know what's in it, any more than anybody else does. But certainly, people who are about to vote in a month or so deserve to know what is in a report that one has to speculate must have something of concern, otherwise why wouldn't it be publicly disclosed?"

Mr Grieve, chairman of the ISC, has accused the PM of sitting on the report ahead of the December 12 vote.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and a Downing Street spokesman have said the machinery of government is the reason for the delay in publication.

Mr Shapps said that while he was not close to the report, the delay is "just the usual way that purdah works" and incumbent governments are not allowed to publish anything controversial in the run-up to an election.