Ministers missed the deadline to release security advisories related to the nobility of Russian-born businessman Evgeny Lebedev.
Labor Deputy Leader Angela Rayner said the “whole reeks of a cover-up” by Boris Johnson amid questions about his involvement in sending the media mogul to the Lords.
The House of Commons last month approved a Labor motion aimed at forcing the government to release documents on the Prime Minister’s involvement.
Boris Johnson has failed to comply with Parliament’s order to disclose his role in the Lord Lebedev affair.
What is he hiding?
The whole thing smacks of a prime minister cover-up.
The public deserves answers on this whole sombre affair.
– Angela Rayner 🌹 (@AngelaRayner) April 28, 2022
But ministers missed Thursday’s deadline, and Paymaster General Michael Ellis said more time was needed to consider whether redactions about “national security” needed to be made.
Questions have been raised as to whether the Prime Minister has asked anyone in the security services to revise, reconsider or withdraw their assessment of Lord Lebedev ahead of his November 2020 appointment.
The media mogul’s father, oligarch Alexander Lebedev, was a former KGB agent.
Ms Rayner said: “By failing to act on the democratic will of Parliament and declassifying these important documents, the Government is again bending the rules to avoid scrutiny.
“This last minute delay just throws the can further down the road and has all the hallmarks of a government with something to hide.
“If the Prime Minister wasn’t involved in enforcing the appointment of a person of concern to our intelligence services, then why won’t he get on with it and publish the guidance in full as Parliament voted for it?”
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In a letter to the Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Mr Ellis said the Government “regrets” it did not reply in time.
But he pledged to reply “promptly” when Parliament returned from its recess on May 10, after “the material had been subjected to the necessary scrutiny”.
“As you know, the motion provided for redactions to be made “for reasons of national security,” a consideration paramount given the government’s responsibility to protect information when disclosure is not in the public interest.” is,” said Mr. Ellis.
The motion required Cabinet Office Minister Steve Barclay to submit any relevant information provided by the Cabinet Office or the Office of the Prime Minister to the House of Lords Appeals Commission (HOLAC) by April 28.
Independent crossbench peer Lord Lebedev previously insisted he had “nothing to hide” when backing the release of the safety advisories.
Questions about Mr Johnson’s meeting with Alexander Lebedev after a NATO meeting over the Salisbury poisoning in 2018 were also deflected.
Labor Party’s Holly Lynch said it was “absolutely outrageous” that Mr Ellis dismissed the question just “four minutes” before the House of Representatives adjourned for the break.
Instead, he referred to a previous response to a question he had asked about Lord Lebedev, with Ms Lynch pointing out that it “isn’t even about the right Lebedev”.
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/government-misses-deadline-to-publish-lord-evgeny-lebedev-security-advice-41597853.html The government misses the deadline to publish Lord Evgeny Lebedev’s safety advice