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by Nicholas Mairs
20 April 2018
MPs form cross-party group to tackle Russian threat

MPs form cross-party group to tackle Russian threat

Vladimir Putin - Image credit: Press Association

The heads of the UK Parliament’s most powerful committees have joined forces in a bid to coordinate the information that each have on the threats posed by Russia.

The chairs of six Commons committees, including foreign affairs, defence, Treasury and the joint committee on the national security strategy, are among the new group’s members.

The Home Affairs Committee, led by Yvette Cooper, and Damian Collins’ Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, which has recently been probing Russian fake news, are also involved.

It comes as British officials fear a boost in propaganda and cyber-attacks from the Kremlin in light of increased tensions since the Salisbury attack on ex-Spy Sergei Skripal and western airstrikes in Syria.

The body, which held its first meeting on Wednesday, is being led by Foreign Affairs Select Committee chair Tom Tugendhat, while Tory MP and Russian expert Bob Seeley will act as secretary.

It currently has no plans to hold joint any investigations of its own, but will “informally co-ordinate work on inquiries on Russia to maximise the potential for scrutiny”.

Tugendhat said it remained “essential” for MPs to “have the full picture” on the activity of the Moscow regime, in order to provide a “more informed response”.

“This is a crucial time for UK-Russia relations,” he said.

“In areas of intelligence and security, interference in elections, disinformation as well as our co-existence post Brexit, it will be easier to respond to any aggression from an informed standpoint.

“Our work will be much more effective if it is co-ordinated.”

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