Nine Russian business people who gave money to the Conservative Party are named in a secret intelligence report on the threats posed to UK democracy which was suppressed last week by Downing Street.
Oligarchs and other wealthy Tory donors were included in the report on illicit Russian activities in Britain by the cross-party intelligence and security select committee (ISC), whose publication was blocked by No 10.
Some Russian donors are personally close to the prime minister. Alexander Temerko, who has worked for the Kremlin’s defence ministry and has spoken warmly about his “friend” Boris Johnson, has gifted more than £1.2m to the Conservatives over the past seven years.
MPs on the ISC, which conducted an 18-month inquiry, were also briefed on Alexander Lebedev, the former KGB spy in London whom the last Labour government allowed to buy the London Evening Standard newspaper.
Lebedev’s son Evgeny invited Johnson when he was foreign secretary to parties at the family’s converted castle near Perugia, Italy. The future prime minister apparently travelled without the close-protection police officers that normally accompany senior ministers of state during the trip in April 2018.
The largest Russian Tory donor is Lubov Chernukhin, the wife of Vladimir Chernukhin, a former ally of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. She paid £160,000 in return for a tennis match with Johnson and has donated more than £450,000 in the last year alone.
Britain’s intelligence agencies are understood to be “furious” at the delay in releasing the report because measures to protect sensitive information have already been taken.
It is not known whether the Tory donors are named in the public section of the report, or whether they have been included in its confidential annex, which will remain classified indefinitely.
The government’s argument that it needs more time to redact information has been dismissed by the former cabinet secretary Lord Butler, Lord Ricketts, a former national security adviser, and Lord Anderson, the former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation.
Last week, Emily Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary, told MPs the delay was “utterly unjustifiable, unprecedented and clearly politically motivated”. She added: “I fear it is because they realise that this report will lead to other questions about the links between Russia and Brexit and the current leadership of the Tory party, which risks derailing their election campaign. What is Downing Street so worried about?”
Thornberry also raised a whistleblower’s claims regarding “relationships” that Johnson’s chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, made during the “mysterious three years he spent in post-communist Russia”. She said the Downing Street chief of staff allegedly met Vladislav Surkov, who is known as the “grey cardinal” of the Kremlin and has close links to Russia’s security agencies.
In the Commons, Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, said last week that he would not comment on security clearances, but denied the “insinuation” that No 10 was “in the grip of a Kremlin mole”.
In a letter to Thornberry last week, Sir Mark Sedwill, the cabinet secretary, also did not deny the unusual arrangement. “Classified information, especially intelligence, is made available only to those with the appropriate security clearance,” he wrote. “This applies to Mr Cummings and his access is appropriate for someone in his role.”
A Conservative Party spokesman said: “We cannot speculate on what may or may not be in a leaked parliamentary report.”
Andrew Gwynne, a Labour parliamentary candidate, said: “Billionaires fund the Conservative Party, so this sordid cover-up shouldn’t be surprising. The Tories blocked this report and oppose tax transparency so their billionaire backers can continue to rip us off unchallenged.
“Labour is on the side of the many, not the few, so we’ll get dirty money out of politics, introduce an oligarch levy and take on the vested interests selling out our people and public services.”