Russia report committee to be set up ‘imminently’

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The Intelligence and Security Committee is made up of MPs from all the main parties in Westminster

Parliament’s powerful Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) looks set to be re-established imminently, sources have told the BBC.

The committee – which is due to publish a delayed report on alleged Russian interference in UK politics – hasn’t met since before the election.

Number 10 needs to approve members, and opposition parties have accused the government of delay to escape scrutiny.

But a source said they were hopeful the committee would be announced soon.

The ISC oversees the UK’s intelligence community. But it hasn’t met for well over six months – the longest hiatus since it was established in 1994.

As a result, eight months after it was completed – the report into alleged Russian interference in the UK remains unpublished.

BBC News revealed at the weekend that, despite opposition parties sending their nominations to Downing Street more than three months ago, Conservative MPs were still in the dark about whether a final decision had been made about which Tories would be on the committee.

Opposition parties were highly critical.

Labour said the delay was “deeply worrying” and called for urgent action.

The SNP accused the government of “repeatedly and intentionally failing to establish Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee to escape scrutiny on important security matters”.

But it now seems there is movement.

A source close to the process has told me they are hopeful the committee will be confirmed by Downing Street “imminently”.

That would remove the most significant obstacle to the Russia report being published and means it could happen soon.

Number 10, meanwhile, has denied deliberately stalling the process.

The PM’s spokesman said the government wanted to get the committee up and running as soon as circumstances allowed.

But the spokesman said the last few months has seen an unprecedented situation in government and Parliament.

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