Tag Archives: Lebedev

What’s the big secret about how Lebedev became a Lord? What did Johnson do?

Buddies: Boris Johnson and Evgeny Lebedev. What public interest issues could possibly justify delaying whether the liar on the left interfered to put the son-of-a-Russian-spy on the right into the House of Lords?

It seems the Conservative government has found yet another piece of important information about Boris Johnson that it wants to hide. That’s right: Boris Johnson.

It concerns the way Johnson’s close friend, the Russian son-of-a-spy Evgeny Lebedev, was ennobled (given a place in the House of Lords).

Parliament voted to instruct the government that it must provide all information on how this happened, by April 28.

But the government has ignored this instruction from the UK’s sovereign institution.

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Ellis has argued that he could not give out information where it was “not in the public interest to do so” and the government would need more time to deal with “all the necessary considerations”.

Funny, that. The instruction was given at the end of March so ministers have had a month to sort out any public interest issues. That’s plenty of time.

Also, we all know that the substantive issue is whether Boris Johnson interfered to override concerns about Lebedev by the security services. There’s absolutely no public interest issue around that.

In fact, it seems to This Writer that “Save Big Dog” is the only issue here.

Let’s recap the situation, from This Site’s previous article:

The Guardian revealed back in 2020 that Boris Johnson overruled concerns voiced by the security services in order to give Lebedev a peerage:

Two days before Johnson met Lebedev in March [he did this on March 19, right after telling us all to stay in our homes because of Covid-19, so this happened on March 17], the House of Lords appointments commission (Holac), which scrutinises all nominations, wrote to the prime minister. It is understood to have expressed concerns about Lebedev’s proposed peerage and asked Downing Street to reconsider.

The commission, made up of cross-party peers, carries out “propriety checks” on candidates. It does not have the power of veto. But it can suggest that a party come up with an alternative, which is what is understood to have happened in Lebedev’s case.

Peers were apparently alarmed following a confidential briefing from the UK security services. They told the commission Lebedev was viewed as a potential security risk because of his father, Alexander Lebedev, a one-time Moscow spy. During the late cold war period, Lebedev Sr worked undercover at the Soviet embassy in London. His real employer was KGB foreign intelligence.

Johnson ignored the concerns and Lebedev became a Lord.

Labour leader Keir Starmer called for Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee to review all the reports on Lord Lebedev that Holac saw, after Russians in the UK came under suspicion in the wake of the war between Russia and Ukraine.

Lebedev himself has supported publication of the material, saying, “I have nothing to hide.”

But Downing Street insisted that “all peerages are vetted by the House of Lords Appointments Commission” – an assertion that failed to acknowledge that Holac can’t veto an appointment, which always remains within the gift of the prime minister.

And Johnson himself has denied overruling the concerns expressed by the security services.

If the documents are published and show that Johnson did indeed ignore concerns raised by the security services, then he has lied in his capacity as prime minister. If he uttered those words in Parliament, then he will have broken the Ministerial Code and his resignation will be required.

And the irony is that any security risk posed by Lebedev is tiny in any case – because Lords are not shown “classified” documents.

It seems clear that the Tory government is hiding something, and it seems clear that the only thing they have to hide is interference by Boris Johnson in UK security concerns.

Ellis has promised to publish the necessary information “promptly” on May 10, when Parliament reconvenes.

This will be after the local elections, and I wonder whether the delay is motivated by the possibility that it will influence voters against supporting the Tories. But then, why not just say, “This may affect the outcome of an election”?

Or would that be an admission of Johnson’s guilt?

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Government to tell whether Boris Johnson overruled security services on Lebedev peerage

Boris Johnson and Evgeny Lebedev: 10 days after saying he saw no evidence that Russians were influencing UK politics, Johnson has elevated this Russian to the House of Lords.

Parliament has ordered the Tory government to publish confidential information on how Evgeny Lebedev, the son of a Russian spy, was offered a place in the House of Lords.

The Guardian revealed back in 2020 that Boris Johnson overruled concerns voiced by the security services in order to give Lebedev a peerage:

Two days before Johnson met Lebedev in March [he did this on March 19, right after telling us all to stay in our homes because of Covid-19, so this happened on March 17], the House of Lords appointments commission (Holac), which scrutinises all nominations, wrote to the prime minister. It is understood to have expressed concerns about Lebedev’s proposed peerage and asked Downing Street to reconsider.

The commission, made up of cross-party peers, carries out “propriety checks” on candidates. It does not have the power of veto. But it can suggest that a party come up with an alternative, which is what is understood to have happened in Lebedev’s case.

Peers were apparently alarmed following a confidential briefing from the UK security services. They told the commission Lebedev was viewed as a potential security risk because of his father, Alexander Lebedev, a one-time Moscow spy. During the late cold war period, Lebedev Sr worked undercover at the Soviet embassy in London. His real employer was KGB foreign intelligence.

Johnson ignored the concerns and Lebedev became a Lord.

Labour leader Keir Starmer called for Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee to review all the reports on Lord Lebedev that Holac saw, after Russians in the UK came under suspicion in the wake of the war between Russia and Ukraine.

Lebedev himself has supported publication of the material, saying, “I have nothing to hide.”

But Downing Street insisted that “all peerages are vetted by the House of Lords Appointments Commission” – an assertion that failed to acknowledge that Holac can’t veto an appointment, which always remains within the gift of the prime minister.

And Johnson himself has denied overruling the concerns expressed by the security services.

If the documents are published and show that Johnson did indeed ignore concerns raised by the security services, then he has lied in his capacity as prime minister. If he uttered those words in Parliament, then he will have broken the Ministerial Code and his resignation will be required.

And the irony is that any security risk posed by Lebedev is tiny in any case – because Lords are not shown “classified” documents.

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Tory Braverman slammed over immigration, Lebedev and Abramovich

Suella Braverman: another cringeworthy performance.

UK Attorney General Suella Braverman took a pummelling from the public and other panellists on the BBC’s Question Time over the Conservative government’s contradictory attitudes.

The Tories claim to want Ukrainian refugees while making it hard for them to enter the country, and claim to be sanctioning Russian oligarchs while actually giving them all the help they could want to keep their assets from being frozen or removed.

Braverman argued in favour of the heavy number of checks on refugees – but with half of those seeking entrance to the UK being children, does her claim that they are needed to prevent terrorist attacks really ring true?

Labour’s Wes Streeting pointed out what we all know about Boris Johnson’s relationship with now-Lord Lebedev – that the prime minister ignored advice from the security services that they were unhappy with his nomination to the House of Lords and put him there anyway. Challenged to refute the claim, Braverman evaded the issue.

And Streeting also pointed out that sanctions against Russian oligarchs in the UK act so slowly that Roman Abramovich was able to remove all his assets before they bit.

As even former Torygraph editor Max Hastings said, “The Conservative Party’s relationship with Russian oligarchs is a badge of shame for this country.”

See for yourself:

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Raab was wrong: process that made Lebedev a peer can be easily perverted

Dominic Raab: as Foreign Secretary, he refused to return from a foreign holiday when the Taliban took over Afghanistan – and the public reacted appropriately. Should we really expect his comments on Lord Lebedev to be any more reliable than his reaction to that crisis?

We should not be surprised that Dominic Raab has emitted a flurry of falsehoods in defence of Evgeny Lebedev’s elevation to the House of Lords.

His prime minister, Boris Johnson, has been accused of creating a security risk to the UK by letting the son of a former Russian KGB agent have access to Parliamentary documents via the front door.

So Raab appeared on the BBC’s Sunday Morning Programme spouting a lot of nonsense that “There is a very strict and stringent process when anyone is granted a peerage” and that the rules around the honours process were “applied very rigorously in this case. This was done properly and correctly and we have procedures and systems in place to make sure it is.”

It is possible that he was right in all these statements but they are nonsense because the procedures he described do not prevent people who are a huge security risk from being granted a peerage.

We know about this because The Guardian told us, back in October 2020 [boldings mine]:

Two days before Johnson met Lebedev in March [he did this on March 19, right after telling us all to stay in our homes because of Covid-19, so this happened on March 17], the House of Lords appointments commission (Holac), which scrutinises all nominations, wrote to the prime minister. It is understood to have expressed concerns about Lebedev’s proposed peerage and asked Downing Street to reconsider.

The commission, made up of cross-party peers, carries out “propriety checks” on candidates. It does not have the power of veto. But it can suggest that a party come up with an alternative, which is what is understood to have happened in Lebedev’s case.

Peers were apparently alarmed following a confidential briefing from the UK security services. They told the commission Lebedev was viewed as a potential security risk because of his father, Alexander Lebedev, a one-time Moscow spy. During the late cold war period, Lebedev Sr worked undercover at the Soviet embassy in London. His real employer was KGB foreign intelligence.

In reality, the security risk has been defined as low – because peers do not see classified documents.

But in reluctantly accepting Johnson’s insistence on ennobling the Russian-born son of a spy, Holac allegedly called on Johnson to examine Russian influence in the House of Lords, something highlighted by parliament’s intelligence and security committee in its Russia Report.

And the security services said Lebedev’s “family links” meant he was still regarded as a potential concern.

So Keir Starmer’s call for Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee to review all the reports on Lord Lebedev that Holac saw seemed entirely reasonable and proportionate.

Downing Street’s claim that “all peerages are vetted by the House of Lords Appointments Commission” fails to acknowledge that Holac can’t veto an appointment, which always remains within the gift of the prime minister. Neither does Raab’s.

So these government representatives, it seems, are deceiving us about their treatment of a potential Russian security risk at a time of high international tensions between the UK and Russia. Fit to lead?

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Boris Johnson’s Perugia pantomime: ‘Oh no he wasn’t!’ say some. But ‘Oh yes – he was’

Frequent flyer: but This Site isn’t convinced that this is the way Boris Johnson arrived at Perugia (if, indeed, he did).

Boris Johnson may have thought – briefly – that the heat was off and he could come out in public again after the boss of Perugia airport said there had been a mix-up and it wasn’t the current UK prime minister who was seen there, but former PM Tony Blair.

The possibility of Johnson having been there is significant because it would have indicated that he was visiting the villa of his Russian friend Evgeny Lebedev, at a time when he and the Conservative Party in general are suspected of taking Russian government money and being influenced to carry out the wishes of that country’s President Putin.

So this would have been a significant exoneration…

… had it not been refuted very quickly (indeed, apparently before the excuse was made):

Here’s a nice long explanation for you:

Of course, the Twitter wits have been working overtime and, whether the story is true or not, these comments are worth preserving:

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Where’s Boris? Apparently he’s been in Perugia getting instructions from his Russian masters

Boris Johnson and Evgeny Lebedev: what was the UK PM doing, if he was visiting this Russian oligarch’s Perugia villa right before starting a row with the EU – and isn’t it interesting that Russian money donated to the Tories has been linked with that country’s government, run by Vladimir Putin?

Downing Street denies everything, of course.

But it seems Boris Johnson flew into Perugia, Italy, where his Russian friends have a villa, at some point in the last fortnight:

The claim of Johnson making a seemingly undercover visit to Perugia would be seen as especially intriguing given he has done it before. In April 2018, while he was foreign secretary, Johnson was photographed looking somewhat dishevelled at San Francesco d’Assisi airport.

It emerged that Johnson had stayed at Palazzo Terranova, a restored castle owned by the media billionaire and socialite Evgeny Lebedev, who is renowned for holding lavish parties.

The pictures of Johnson at the airport suggested he went to Italy without a police escort. According to another passenger on the flight back to the UK, Johnson was on his own, apparently without any luggage and very much the worse for wear.

We must ask ourselves why Johnson would visit his Russian friends just as Parliament resumed sitting. What was going on that might interest them.

How about the Internal Market Bill that has caused huge enmity between the UK and the European Union?

Russia would certainly gain much from a row between this country and the power bloc to which the UK formerly belonged.

How unfortunate for Johnson that this visit should come to light right after it was revealed that Russian government money seems to have been donated to the Conservatives in return for access to ministers including Johnson and two previous prime ministers!

Source: No 10 denies reports Boris Johnson went on secret Italy trip | Politics | The Guardian

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Confirmed: Boris Johnson met ex-KGB agent at party, days after Nato summit on Russia

Boris Johnson: This time it’s more hair-raising for the rest of us that he has been talking to at least one former Russian KGB agent when he was not accompanied by government security experts. What did this tactless and indiscreet man let slip?

How much more evidence do you need that Boris Johnson is a security risk and a danger to everybody in the UK?

I’m writing this hours after publishing an article linking Mr Johnson to the Lebedevs, among other Russians who funded campaigns including his to become Tory leader (and therefore prime minister).

The mere fact that Mr Johnson – a man who is not known for having any tact or discretion – has met a Russian ex-KGB agent without being accompanied by his personal security detail strongly suggests that he may already be harming the UK’s security in relationship with Russia.

The meeting happened within days of his attendance at a Nato meeting in which Russia was discussed. What did he say?

I don’t know. And we cannot rely on Mr Johnson to tell us because it is well-known that he is a monstrous liar.

It seems clear that the safest thing to do is vote Mr Johnson out of 10 Downing Street, to prevent him from doing any (more?) harm.

Boris Johnson met an ex-KGB agent during a highly controversial trip to attend a party two days after attending a high-level Nato summit that focused on Russia.

The prime minister, who was foreign secretary at the time, met Russian billionaire businessman Alexander Lebedev, whose family owns Britain’s Independent and Evening Standard newspapers, following a summit of foreign ministers in Brussels staged in the wake of the poisoning of ex-Russian agent Sergei Skripal.

The two met in Italy in April 2018, a month after the attack using the novichok nerve agent in Salisbury, when Johnson, in what appears to be a highly unusual break with protocol, apparently left behind his personal security detail and flew to a lavish party at a palazzo near Perugia hosted by Lebedev’s son Evgeny.

A spokesman has gone on to acknowledge that the meeting between Johnson and Alexander Lebedev, a former KGB officer, did take place, though he insisted there was nothing was out of the ordinary.

Source: Revealed: ex-KGB agent met Boris Johnson at Italian party | Media | The Guardian

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