The ISC (Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament) provides invaluable scrutiny and oversight of the work of the intelligence community to Parliament, and I am grateful to it for conducting this timely inquiry into the Government's work on Russia. Russia's reckless behaviour in Salisbury and Amesbury shows that, now more than ever, the UK cannot afford to be complacent about the Russian threat.
In line with his responsibilities in the Justice and Security Act 2013, the Prime Minister carefully considered and approved the report, and is content that its publication would not prejudice the functions of those bodies that safeguard UK national security.
The report, which you may find here: https://docs.google.com/a/independent.gov.uk/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid…, is concerning. I suspect, however, that it confirms the view that most reasonable people already held on Russia's intentions towards the West. The question is whether attempts to sow division and disinformation succeed. The Government has been clear that it will always be resolute in defending our country from hostile state activity.
The Committee makes a number of recommendations to further strengthen the UK's national security capabilities and I am sure that my ministerial colleagues will consider these carefully.
The Government has separately concluded that Russian actors almost certainly sought to interfere in the General Election 2019. This was attempted through the online amplification of sensitive government documents that were unlawfully acquired and leaked. While there is no evidence to suggest a broader Russian campaign against the General Election, such activity represents a clear violation of international norms. A criminal investigation is now ongoing and the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, has said that the Government reserves the right to respond with appropriate measures in the future.
I also want to assure you that there is no evidence of successful interference in the EU referendum in 2016. The Intelligence and Security Agencies produce regular assessments of democratic processes in the UK and these are updated in response to new intelligence where necessary. Given this approach I do not believe that a retrospective assessment of the referendum is required.
The report is the property of the Committee and it was up to the Committee to publish it rather than the Government. The Prime Minister cleared the report in December but it could not be published until after the General Election when a new Committee was formed.