Home Secretary Priti Patel will propose new laws against foreign interference following the storm over Russia’s influence in the UK.
The Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) warned that successive governments “welcomed the oligarchs and their money with open arms” and allowed them to forge “connections at the highest levels with access to UK companies and political figures”.
Priti Patel has responded, telling the Daily Express she is working on a Bill which will bring tougher sanctions against spies and rogue states.
She said: “Security is what we are about – protecting our people, our country, our state.”
A former head of international terrorism intelligence at the Cabinet Office welcomed the news, saying the UK’s guard against Moscow “has increasingly dropped”.
Richard Kemp countered: “Vitally important now are robust measures not only to defend against Russian aggression but to allow our security services to take the offensive against their depredations.”
The interview comes days after MPs released a long-delayed report which argued the UK had “underestimated” the threat posed by Moscow.
Ms Patel said the report was out-of-date and Britain had since improved its position.
Earlier, the UK accused Russia of launching a projectile “with the characteristics of a weapon” during a satellite test, warning that it could “threaten the peaceful use of space”.
It marked the first time the Ministry of Defence has called out Russian activity of this sort. The US also condemned the action.
Meanwhile, Tory donor Alexander Temerko insisted Russian-linked businessmen have “zero” influence on British politics.
Mr Temerko, who has donated more than £1 million to the Tories, said his wealth gave him influence in the City but not Westminster. The businessman, who has an energy firm, was born in the former Soviet Union but is now a British citizen.
The Times reported that 14 Cabinet ministers and members of the ISC had taken money from figures linked to Russia.
It listed Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis as having personally received £25,000 from Lubov Chernukhin, a banker and the wife of Mr Putin’s former deputy finance minister, and £23,000 from Mr Temerko.
Other Cabinet ministers said to have accepted money, either personally or to their constituency branch, from the two Russia-linked individuals include Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Business Secretary Alok Sharma and Justice Secretary Robert Buckland
Send your news and stories to us firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and WhatsApp: +447747873668.
Before you go...
Democratic norms are being stress-tested all over the world, and the past few years have thrown up all kinds of questions we didn't know needed clarifying – how long is too long for a parliamentary prorogation? How far should politicians be allowed to intervene in court cases? To monitor these issues as closely as we have in the past we need your support, so please consider donating to The Climax News Room.