Russian Tory donors ‘named’ in report ‘sordidly covered up’ by No10

Nine Russian businesspeople who gave money to the Tories have been named in a report that was "sordidly covered up" by 10 Downing Street, it is claimed today.

The Sunday Times reported several donors are identified in a report by the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC) on alleged Russian interference in UK elections.

The report is still under wraps, despite pleas by ISC chair Dominic Grieve for its release, after Downing Street failed to approve its publication before Parliament dissolved for the election.

The Sunday Times did not make clear who the donors named in the report are, or whether they would have actually been named publicly in the report or been in its confidential annexe.

It is also unclear what any references to donors in the report actually say.

But Labour campaign coordinator Andrew Gwynne claimed: "Billionaires fund the Conservative Party, so this sordid cover up shouldn't be surprising.

 

"The Tories blocked this report and oppose tax transparency so their billionaire backers can continue to rip us off unchallenged.

"Labour is on the side of the many, not the few, so we'll get dirty money out of politics, introduce an oligarch levy and take on the vested interests selling out our people and public services."

Chancellor Sajid Javid was questioned on the report, but said: "I think it’s been timed out in terms of the election.

"When it comes to party donors, whether it’s to the Conservative Party or any other party, there’s very strict rules that need to be followed, and of course we will always follow those rules."

Asked if he was sure Russian money was not "pulling the strings" in the election, Mr Javid said: "I’m as sure as I can be.

"I’m absolutely sure in terms of our own party and I’m very confident about how we’re funded and we’re very transparent about that."

The Conservative Party's Russian linked donors have come under scrutiny before. Lubov Chernukhin, a banker and wife of a former ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, handed the Tories a single cash donation of £200,000 in June. There is no suggestion she is mentioned in the ISC report.

Top Tory Grant Shapps blamed the "machinery of government" for the delay in publication, adding the government is "not allowed to publish things which are seen as controversial in any way" around an election time.

Chairman of the committee Dominic Grieve had previously accused the Government of "sitting on the report" and said it was sent to the Prime Minister for approval on October 17.

The Government had argued that more time was needed to redact information.

However, former cabinet secretary Lord Butler and Lord Ricketts, a former national security adviser, had dismissed this response.

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