ISC complains again about PM delays

The cross-party Intelligence and Security Committee was forced to make a public complaint in order to persuade Prime Minister Boris Johnson to let it publish its annual report before Christmas.

The group had warned on 23 November that Johnson had been so slow that there was a risk it would not be able to release the latest review before the end of year recess, echoing a previous row when Downing Street had sat on its Russia report. The Russia report was eventually published in July 2020, after Johnson refused to clear it before the 2019 General Election, seven months earlier.

The committee said it had sent a final draft 2019-21 annual report to the Prime Minister on 25 October.

The complaint, which was brought about because we were reaching ‘the last possible day if the report is to be published before the house rises for Christmas recess’, produced the desired result with the committee confirming on 24 November that Johnson had now signed off the report, just over a fortnight after the deadline but nevertheless in time for publication before the end of the year.

Downing Street has to clear draft ISC reports to ensure they do not contain any secret material that would prejudice the operations of MI5, MI6 or GCHQ, the UK’s three principal intelligence agencies.


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