john avlon new day 12-11-2018
Reality check: Where Russia has allegedly meddled
02:55 - Source: CNN
London CNN  — 

A senior member of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Cabinet said Sunday he was “absolutely sure” that “no Russian money is pulling the strings of this election.”

“I’m very confident about how we’re funded and we’re very transparent about that,” Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid told the BBC.

It comes after CNN was the first to report on Friday that members of the cross-party Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) were told Russia’s influence reaches deep into the British establishment and that successive UK governments have turned a blind eye to it.

CNN’s Nina dos Santos reported witnesses told the committee that Moscow built up a network of friendly British diplomats, lawyers, parliamentarians and other influencers from across the political spectrum.

The committee’s unpublished final report into Russian meddling in UK politics, titled simply “Russia,” is currently under wraps and will not be published until after the December 12 general election.

The committee’s chairman, Dominic Grieve, has accused Johnson of sitting on the report and claimed Downing Street had given “bogus” explanations for not publishing it.

Opposition lawmakers have accused the UK government of a cover-up, saying it could raise awkward questions about the validity of the Brexit referendum in 2016 and expose the alleged Russian connections of some in the ruling Conservative party.

Downing Street has repeatedly denied that the failure to publish the report before the election was politically motivated.

UK Chancellor Sajid Javid has insisted that "no Russian money" is involved in this election.

The BBC asked Javid about a Sunday Times article asserting that Russian donors were named in a secret report on the “threats posed to UK democracy which was suppressed last week by Downing Street.”

However Javid echoed the government’s position that civil servants – not politicians – decided on timings of the release.

In Parliament this week, Foreign Office minister Christopher Pincher said it was routine for Downing Street to subject ISC reports to further checks before they were published, and that it would be released “in due course.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps also told the BBC on Sunday that the “machinery of government” was to be blamed for the report’s delay.

He said he was “not close” to the report, according to Britain’s PA news agency, but believes the report was delayed because it’s “just the usual way that purdah works.”

“I wanted to publish some very trivial information, which was certainly not of any great, huge public interest, and I was blocked from doing so by the civil service machine because come an election you are not allowed to, into purdah, publish things which are seen as controversial in any way,” Shapps said. “So I suspect it’s just the machinery of the government.”