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Boris Johnson: he’s making this gesture to the public – metaphorically, if not actually – increasingly often these days.

Boris Johnson and his government are facing mounting pressure to publish a long-delayed report on Russia’s influence in UK politics.

The report was finalised by Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee last October – but Boris Johnson refused to sign it off before the general election.

The committee itself was dissolved in advance of that poll, but has not been reconvened since – because Mr Johnson has not approved the Conservative Party’s nominations of members.

Here’s the BBC’s Nick Eardsley:

Ultimately, members are appointed by the prime minister. But political parties are asked to nominate MPs – based on their relative size in the Commons – and there are also members from the Lords.

I understand opposition parties confirmed their nominations months ago. Sources said there had been enough time for relevant vetting to be carried out for new members.

But there is a lack of clarity on the Conservative candidates, with Tory MPs kept in the dark about whether a final decision has even been made six months after the election.

That’s led to frustration among the other parties in Westminster – with Labour, the SNP and the Liberal Democrats all calling for the committee to be reconvened urgently.

Downing Street has said work to re-establish the committee is going on “as quickly as current circumstances allow” – without explaining exactly which current circumstances are stopping Johnson from finalising his nominations.

The spokesperson said: “The Investigatory Powers Act allows the UK to maintain one of the most stringent scrutiny regimes in the world through the Investigatory Powers Commissioner, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal and both executive and judicial oversight.”

Fine words if you want to be reassured. But of course they omit the fact that only the Intelligence and Security Committee can make the so-called “Russia Report” public.

And the fact is that Johnson could rubber-stamp Tory nominations tomorrow, and the committee could meet to approve publication of the report on Monday.

So the question is: why doesn’t he do that?

Is there something in the report that he doesn’t want us to know? That’s the logical conclusion to draw from his actions.

Source: Government criticised for delay in setting up security committee – BBC News

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