Yesterday the government was accused of a ‘cover up’ after it published heavily redacted documents which contained no information about discussions prior to Lord Lebedev taking his seat in the House of Lords.
But speaking to Sky News earlier, shadow Scotland secretary Ian Murray said Labour would attempt to bring the matter back to the Commons, suggesting the government’s actions could amount to contempt of parliament.
“This is a huge issue in terms of the PMs credibility. He had national security advice on Lebedev. We need to bring it back to parliament, vote again to try and get this info released and I think the Speaker should take a role here in saying to the government, look there’s been a democratic vote in parliament, you’ve been asked to do something, you’re not doing it.
“Parliament has voted for that information to be released and the government are refusing to release it. This is mired in a whole host of cronyism and the public will be cynical about why the government aren’t releasing that information.
MPs had previously voted for documents to be published after reports in the Sunday Times suggested Boris Johnson ignored warnings from intelligence officials that the Russian-born newspaper owner should not be appointed to the House of Lords.
Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg defended the decision earlier, saying: “I think the government actually has provided more information than it’s constitutionally obliged to do.”
“The public will come to the conclusion if they won’t give us this information and release it then they’ve got something to hide.”
Lord Lebedev, the son of a former KGB agent, owns the Independent newspaper and the Evening Standard. He was awarded a peerage in 2020.
He has denied posing a “security risk” to the UK and has backed the publication of the government’s advice on the issue, tweeting: “I have nothing to hide.”