‘Cries out for proper investigation’ Boris in fresh turmoil over meeting with ex-KGB agent

Boris Johnson's meeting with ex-KGB agent discussed by Steele

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Intelligence expert Christopher Steele told LBC there needs to be a “proper investigation” into the “strange and curious” relationship between Boris Johnson and Alexander Lebedev. He said the Prime Minister had failed to provide “straight answers” on the pair’s relationship and that “it raises significant issues of national security”. The meeting in question involved Mr Johnson visiting Mr Lebedev’s property in Italy in 2018, where he allegedly had a phone call with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov. Mr Johnson told Commons today via one his ministers that he believes “he thinks he mentioned” telling his officials about the engagement. 

Mr Steele said: “I’m afraid this cries out for a proper investigation. And that investigation really does have to be carried out by the security services of this country and not by members of parliament. 

“Because it raises significant issues of national security. There is a suggestion, for example, that on the agenda of this visit was a phone call to Russian foreign minister [Sergei] Lavrov. 

“I do not know whether or not that is true but it certainly requires a proper investigation.” 

He added: “I think we have to get to the bottom of the whole Johnson Lebedev relationship.

“It’s a very strange and curious one. There’s been a lot of speculation about it and very few straight answers. 

“I think that is something the security services need to take on now and I don’t know why, at the time, when Theresa May was prime minister, this was not dealt with properly.

“Maybe the government did not know about it but they certainly should have done.” 

The Lebedev case came under fresh scrutiny today after foreign office minister Vicky Ford said during a Commons meeting that Mr Johnson had told her “he thinks he mentioned” his meeting with the Russian oligarch. 

The Prime Minister failed to conclusively admit that he had told officials about his meeting despite being required to do so. 

Mr Johnson was reportedly flown out to the Italian property in 2018 via Mr Lebedev’s private plan without any of his officials. 

The PM has been pictured multiple times with Mr Lebedev’s son, Evgeny, who he proposed for a peerage after the British security service said he posed a national security risk, though that assessment was later withdrawn for unknown reasons. 

Labour shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper today accused ministers of “covering up over national security”, warning “it puts all our safety and security at risk”.

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She asked why Mr Lebedev has been sanctioned by Canada but not the UK, and said: “Did the Foreign Office, the Home Office and the security service know about this meeting in advance? Was a detailed record made after the event of the meeting?

“Because there are rumours that the foreign secretary was too drunk to properly remember. Is that true? 

“There are also rumours that Alexander Lebedev was trying to arrange a phone call from the meeting with the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, is that true? Did that phone call happen?

“The record of ministers’ interests says the foreign secretary accepted hospitality in Italy for himself and a guest. But he travelled home alone. Who was that guest? And did that put him in a compromising position?”

She added: “It’s bad enough covering up for parties and breaking the law, but covering up over national security is a total disgrace. It puts all our safety and security at risk. It’s not just the Prime Minister, it is the whole Government that is letting the country down.”

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