Tag Archives: security

Did Grayling quit intelligence committee because he really WAS Johnson’s stooge?

Chris Grayling: it seems there are limits to the humiliation he can endure.

Chris ‘Failing’ Grayling has quit Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee after failing (he does that a lot) to be named as chair a few weeks ago.

He was prevented from taking that position – despite being Boris Johnson’s nomination for the role – when opposition MPs combined their votes with that of Julian Lewis to install him instead.

Mr Lewis subsequently lost the Tory whip, on grounds that he had been “working with Labour and other opposition MPs for his own advantage”.

But it was widely believed that it was Johnson who had been trying to install his stooge (Grayling) to run a committee that had previously been proudly independent and non-partisan.

Grayling’s resignation will only strengthen that belief.

Source: Chris Grayling resigns from Intelligence and Security Committee | The Independent | Independent

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Floundering Johnson outflanked over publication of ‘Russia Report’

Facepalm: Boris Johnson could be in serious trouble with members of his own party, depending on the contents of the so-called ‘Russia Report’.

Any hope Boris Johnson may have had that he could further delay or hide the revelations in the so-called ‘Russia Report’ on interference by that country in UK politics must now be gone.

And that’s a good thing for British democracy!

A panicking Johnson furiously threw Julian Lewis out of the Parliamentary Conservative Party after he joined Labour and SNP members of the new Intelligence and Security committee to get himself elected as its chair instead of Johnson’s choice, the incompetent Chris ‘Failing’ Grayling.

And it seems Johnson is considering attempting to have Lewis removed from the committee altogether.

But Lewis has moved too fast for it to make a difference. The committee met today (July 16) and ordered that the Russia Report will be published within the next week – before Parliament rises for the summer.

It has been suggested that the report contains details that are embarrassing for the Tories – or at least for Boris Johnson. But the government has claimed that political considerations were not involved.

However (1): while it is true that Downing Street cleared the report for publication last November, Downing Street also ordered a general election, meaning that the previous Intelligence and Security committee, that would have overseen its publication, was disbanded and nothing could be done until the new committee was set up.

However (2): the creation of the new committee was delayed by eight months while Parliament waited for Boris Johnson to nominate MPs to be its members.

However (3): if there are no political considerations, why remove the Conservative whip from Lewis after his so-called ‘coup’? This committee does not operate on political lines – it was established by an Act of Parliament and must act impartially – so it is inappropriate for Johnson to claim that Lewis acted for political gain, and far more likely that, in doing so, it was in the interests of his own well-being.

However (4): it has been suggested that Johnson may now put a motion before Parliament to remove Lewis from the committee he now chairs, in order to replace him as chair with another Tory (not Grayling, who seems to be backing out) of Johnson’s choice. This really would be seen as political interference as it would indicate beyond doubt that Johnson wants to control, for his own purposes, a committee that is intended to be impartial.

He would be better-off leaving well alone.

But it seems a lot of damage has already been done.

Former Tory Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind has verbally attacked Johnson, just for removing the Tory whip from Lewis.

He said: “The Act of Parliament is quite clear the Prime Minister has no role in the choice of the chairman of the committee

“Once the committee has been appointed it is for the committee itself to decide its chairman.

“The idea of using the Whips to try and force Conservative members to vote for a particular candidate goes totally against the way the committee under statute has operated since it began.

“It’s never been a partisan committee, I think the Prime Minister has handled this – or his advisers whoever is dealing with it – in an extremely incompetent way.”

And he continued, damningly: “What I most object to, was the attempt of Prime Minister and the government or whoever, Dominic Cummings, whoever is involved in these things I don’t know, to try to control the way the intelligence committee operates by choosing for its chairman and putting pressure on MPs to make him chairman.

“If they had succeeded, that destroys the whole purpose of the Intelligence and Security Committee. It is a unique committee. They are the only people who have access to the highest levels of intelligence.

“They need the confidence of the intelligence agencies and of Parliament. If they are thought to be creatures of government they have no authority to do the job that the law requires them to do.”

So with the committee chaired by Lewis, it actually has more authority than under anyone chosen by Boris Johnson. So much for his claim that it’s Lewis who was politically-motivated!

Sir Malcolm Rifkind’s intervention suggests a deeper problem for Johnson, though:

The Conservative Party still has a strong contingent of members who believe very firmly that the UK should be the most powerful country in the world and they should be running it because that makes them the most powerful people in the world.

The implication that the Russia Report has been suppressed because it indicates some form of collusion – of subservience – by representatives of their party to Russia is anathema to them.

They want to know the facts – now – so they can work out what to do about Johnson.

His troubles may be only just beginning.

Source: Russia ‘interference’ report to be published – BBC News

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Russia report: new intelligence committee chair loses Tory whip but gains respect

Coup: Julian Lewis.

This is very funny indeed – but we may all have cause to be grateful for what has happened.

You will recall that concerns were raised when Boris Johnson nominated Chris “Failing” Grayling – widely held to be one of the stupidest individuals ever to be voted into office – as the chair of Parliament’s important Intelligence and Security Committee.

This is the group that would be responsible for publication of the so-called “Russia Report” on interference by that country in UK politics. The concern was that Grayling would mess up publication of that report. He has a reputation for such things.

The nine-strong committee comprises five Conservatives, three from the Labour Party and one from the SNP.

With a clear Tory majority, it was expected that Grayling would be voted into the chair – but it seems there was a coup.

The Labour and SNP representatives nominated Julian Lewis – a different Tory – for the chair, and his own vote sealed his election. The other Tories voted for Grayling, including Grayling himself.

So Johnson has kicked Lewis out of the Parliamentary Conservative Party – in official language, he has withdrawn the Tory whip.

Apparently…

A senior government source told the BBC that Mr Lewis “has been told by the chief whip that it is because he worked with Labour and other opposition MPs for his own advantage”.

By voting for himself? But wouldn’t Grayling have been working for his own advantage because he voted for himself?

And – considering the concerns about Grayling – isn’t it possible that he was in fact acting in the national interest, rather than “for hiss own advantage”?

You have to be wary of the language these government types use, you know.

It’s clear that Lewis did the right thing. He’ll gain respect for it, in the long run. And he can’t be voted out; the choice has been made.

Perhaps Johnson is just spooked because now the “Russia Report” is likely to be published before Parliament goes into recess on July 22. He has gone to great lengths to keep it away from the public since it was written last October – nine months ago.

Labour committee member Kevan Jones seems to think so:

“There’s no reason why it shouldn’t be. It’s been through both the committee, it’s been agreed through the redaction process, and it’s been agreed by government,” he says.

So it seems Johnson has been foiled.

And Julian Lewis losing the Tory whip is a small price to pay to find out what’s in that report.

Source: Russia report: New intelligence committee chair loses Tory whip – BBC News

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Beyond satire: has Boris Johnson found another way to delay release of the ‘Russia Report’?

Chris Grayling: how can this become chair of an intelligence committee? He’s practically drooling in the photograph.

We are being asked to believe that the long-awaited report on Russian influence in UK politics could soon be released after Boris Johnson announced his nominations for the Parliamentary committee responsible for it.

But how can Parliament approve those nominations when he has nominated legendary dunderhead Chris Grayling to chair the committee?

Grayling is quite possibly the stupidest human being ever to infest the Palace of Westminster. His blunders are legendary and installing him as chair of a committee with the word “intelligence” in its title would be a contradiction in terms.

Even if this imbecile is cleared to chair the committee by Parliament, there is no guarantee that he won’t conform to his character and either lose the document that’s causing Boris Johnson so much concern – or destroy it.

Needless to say, Twitter has greeted the situation with both horror and hilarity:

https://twitter.com/eljgales2/status/1281360099198611457

https://twitter.com/libdemfightbac/status/1281339893298475010

Still, it is possible to see light at the end of the tunnel…

Source: Long-delayed report into Russian influence on UK politics could soon be cleared for publication | The Independent

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Do you believe Downing Street’s story that the Russia report may soon be published?

Parliament’s committee responsible for publishing the report on Russian interference in UK politics may be reconvened “imminently” – according to Downing Street sources.

Do you believe that?

Or do you think that, even if it happens, it’s only because Boris Johnson has found another way to delay the report – or hide what it says?

According to the BBC, the government is denying that Johnson has stalled the process:

A source close to the process has told me they are hopeful the committee will be confirmed by Downing Street “imminently”.

That would remove the most significant obstacle to the Russia report being published and means it could happen soon.

Number 10, meanwhile, has denied deliberately stalling the process.

The PM’s spokesman said the government wanted to get the committee up and running as soon as circumstances allowed.

But the spokesman said the last few months has seen an unprecedented situation in government and Parliament.

So the Covid crisis has made Johnson so busy he hasn’t had time to restore this vital organisation that could release damning information?

What’s he been busy doing? Changing nappies?

Apparently so. But while This Writer approves of equality in the parenting process, as prime minister, Johnson has a responsibility to the nation.

He seems to have forgotten that. But did you anything different from him?

Source: Russia report committee to be set up ‘imminently’ – BBC News

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Johnson is feeling the pressure to publish report on Russian interference in UK affairs

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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MPs from all parties say failure to release Russia report is ‘affront to democracy’

Bosom buddies: Boris Johnson with Russian industrialist Alexander Temerko.

If a week in politics is a long time, how would you describe eight months? An eternity?

That’s the length of time Boris Johnson has been sitting on the report into Russian interference in UK democracy.

He says it cannot be released because the UK’s Intelligence and Security Committee has not been reconvened since it was dissolved for the December 2019 general election and has no members.

But this is a feeble excuse when one realises that the only reason for this is, Boris Johnson nominates everybody on this committee – and he hasn’t bothered to do so.

It is the only committee that Parliament has yet to appoint, and it is extremely unusual for a Parliament to fail to appoint it for six months – one-tenth of its term.

If Johnson wanted, this committee could meet on Monday and the report could be out on Tuesday (June 23).

He simply doesn’t want to – and now a cross-party group of MPs have slammed his inaction as an affront to democracy. They’re absolutely right:

MPs on Tuesday wrote to the UK prime minister to tell him it “is untenable for you to continue to block the publication of the Russia report,” adding that “the situation is an affront to democracy.”

The letter… tells Johnson “your refusal to allow publication of this crucial document raises serious concerns and questions about the transparency and integrity of our democratic process.”

Johnson faces fresh pressure to publish the report after the Electoral Commission last week published new data showing continued financial support for the Conservative party from the wife of a former minister in Vladimir Putin’s Russian government.

The letter to Johnson says this new information highlighted “the party’s deep connections to Russian oligarchs,” and “further questions as to why you are so reluctant to reconstitute the Intelligence and Security Committee.”

Source: Boris Johnson failure to release Russia report an affront to democracy – Business Insider

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As Russia donates hugely to Tories, there’s still no sign of report on that country’s political interference in UK

Boris Johnson: he says he can’t publish the so-called ‘Russia report’ until a committee on intelligence and security reconvenes to approve it – but he’s responsible for nominating all its members and hasn’t done so. Why not?

Wow. These Tories are coining it very nicely, courtesy of these Russian donors, aren’t they?

Is it because Boris Johnson vetoed a report on Russian interference in UK politics so many months ago, and has been stubbornly refusing to allow its release ever since?

It has just been revealed that Lubov Chernukhin, who is married to former Russian finance minister Vladimir Chernukhin, donated £325,000 to the Conservative party in the first quarter of 2020, according to the latest Electoral Commission data.

In total, Chernukhin has donated £1.6 million to the party over the last five years, including £45,000 for a game of tennis with Johnson, according to the Daily Mail.

An Open Democracy investigation last year found that donations to the Conservative party from Russian business figures and their associates between November 2018 and 2019 came to £498,850 – a significant increase on the previous year, when donations amounted to less than £350,000.

Why are they handing over all this cash?

I mean, nobody dishes out huge amounts of money and expects nothing in return, do they?

Does it have anything to do with the fact that a report on Russian interference in UK politics has been due for publication since December 2019, but Boris Johnson has been suppressing it?

The report by Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee, including information about alleged Russian interference in the 2016 referendum on membership of the European Union, was finalised in November last year – but Johnson refused to allow it to be published before the December general election. That in itself is suspicious, isn’t it?

After the election, the new Conservative government approved the report’s release on December 13, 2019 – but it still hasn’t become available.

Want to know why?

Because the Intelligence and Security Committee was dissolved with the 2017-19 Parliament and is waiting to be re-convened.

It is now more than six months since the new Parliament began – one-tenth of its lifetime – and this important committee remains devoid of members and has not met.

Want to know why?

Because all members are nominated by the prime minister, who happens to be Boris Johnson – and he hasn’t done it.

We keep reminding him about it…

… but – no. Still nothing.

It’s as if he has something to hide…

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Grayling put in charge of intelligence committee – we live in an age of Orwellian doublespeak

Chris Grayling: He’s as clever as he looks.

This announcement makes it extremely unlikely that we’ll ever see the so-called ‘Russia report’ on interference by that country’s government in UK politics:

Chris Grayling has been named as Downing Street’s choice to head the Commons Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), that is responsible for publishing the report.

It’s further proof that the Conservative government has adopted George Orwell’s concept of “doublethink” – the acceptance of two diametrically-opposed concepts at the same time.

Why else would they put a dimwit of Grayling’s magnitude in charge of an intelligence committee?

The Russian interference report has been ready to be published since the end of October 2019, but was delayed when the election was called, and then subsequently delayed again until the ISC reconvened.

So it’s already five months late.

With Grayling in charge, that report may never see the light of day.

The choice has provoked fury, even from Conservative MPs.

But here’s a thing: If they kick up a fuss that delays the committee from reconvening, won’t that set publication of the ‘Russia report’ back even further? Is that what Boris Johnson wants?

Source: Chris Grayling set to head up committee in charge of releasing Russian intelligence report | Latest Brexit news and top stories | The New European

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It is Boris Johnson – not Jeremy Corbyn – who is a risk to the UK’s security

If The Sun is to be believed (and it isn’t), the UK general election has now descended to such a farcical level that people are being asked to decide which of the main party leaders poses the lowest risk to national security.

That’s what I get from the front page of today’s Sun, anyway:

But we’ve been here before – less than five months ago – when the papers were saying it was Mr Johnson who was the risk:

Back then, it was fellow Tory Jeremy Hunt who sounded the alarm, claiming Mr Johnson’s tumultuous private life (about which I hope I don’t have to state much here, I hope) made him a prime candidate for blackmail by foreign powers. Indeed, it seems former prime minister Theresa May blocked him from receiving sensitive information on the grounds that it would be unsafe with him – although Mr Johnson himself has denied this.

Since then, we have experienced several scandals which tend to support this theory.

First, Mr Johnson was alleged to be in hock to a cadre of shadowy hedge fund bosses who allegedly funded his campaign to become the leader of the Tory Party – in return for which, it was claimed, he was to deliver a “no deal” Brexit from which they would profit by a staggering £8 billion.

Then it was suggested that a report on Russia’s possible influence over UK politics may include revelations indicating that Mr Johnson is in the pocket of the Kremlin.

How risible, then – how ridiculous – that Mr Johnson’s allegations against Mr Corbyn include a claim that the Labour leader would “bow down” to the Kremlin.

Like the other lies which The Sun presented as if they were true – that Mr Corbyn has a history of siding with the IRA and Palestinian terrorists – there isn’t a scrap of truth to it.

The claims about the IRA are in fact references to the fact that Mr Corbyn kept on good terms with all political sides in the so-called ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland; if he had not done so, the Good Friday Agreement would have been much more difficult to achieve. In contrast, when he was doing this in the 1980s and 90s, Conservative governments led by Margaret Thatcher and John Major were negotiating with the real terrorists – and lying about it to the general public.

The allegations about connections with Palestinian terrorism have all been disproved and dismissed. They seem to revolve around the fact that Mr Corbyn advocates a peaceful solution to hostilities between the Israeli government and the people of Palestine. It seems strange that a politician who calls for peace should be said to be siding with terrorists, but that’s Tory logic for you.

So it seems Mr Johnson has put another choice before the people of the UK:

Do you believe the lies about Jeremy Corbyn – or the facts about Mr Johnson?

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
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HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook