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Russian interference report should be published without delay, says Sturgeon

Scotland’s First Minister said it is ‘unthinkable’ people across the UK would be asked to vote in the upcoming election without seeing the report.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon during a visit to Gilmerton, Edinburgh, on the General Election campaign trail (Jane Barlow/PA)
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon during a visit to Gilmerton, Edinburgh, on the General Election campaign trail (Jane Barlow/PA)

By Lewis McKenzie, PA Scotland Political Reporter

A report into alleged Russian interference in British politics should be published without delay, according to Nicola Sturgeon.

Scotland’s First Minister made the comments after Hillary Clinton said it was “inexplicable and shameful” the UK Government will not publish the report until after the General Election on December 12.

The document already has formal security clearance but does not yet have approval to be released.

The more the UK Government appears to want to suppress it and not publish it, the more I think people will start to worry about what exactly it does say First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

During an election campaign visit to Blossom Tree Children’s Nursery in Edinburgh, Ms Sturgeon said it is “unthinkable” people will not have the chance to read the report before casting their votes at the ballot box.

“I think it is essential that report is released to the public,” she said.

“I would 100% agree with the comments that Hillary Clinton has made around this.

“It is unthinkable that people across the UK would be asked to vote in this election before they’ve had the chance to see and read a report that’s sitting there that may, we don’t know what’s in it, but may talk about Russian interference in our election systems.

“Obviously, I don’t know what’s in that report, nobody that hasn’t seen it knows what’s in that report, but the more the UK Government appears to want to suppress it and not publish it, the more I think people will start to worry about what exactly it does say.

“It should be published and it should be published without delay.”

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Hillary Clinton criticised the delay in the release of a report examining Russian influence in British politics (Aaron Chown/PA)

Although there has been no indication of the precise contents of the report, it will assess the threat posed by Moscow to the UK’s democratic processes following an 18-month inquiry into illicit Russian activities in Britain.

The Sunday Times previously claimed nine Russian business people who have donated money to the Conservative Party are named in the dossier.

UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and a Downing Street spokesman have said the machinery of Government is the reason for the delay in publication.

Mr Shapps said while he was not close to the report, the delay is “just the usual way that purdah works” and incumbent Governments are not allowed to publish anything controversial in the run-up to an election.

PA

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