Report on Russian influence in UK politics to be published soon

A long-delayed report into Russian influence in British politics will be published in the next week, parliament's intelligence and security committee agreed on Thursday, a day after a row over the appointment of its chairman.

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LONDON, July 16 (Reuters) - A long-delayed report into Russian influence in British politics will be published in the next week, parliament's intelligence and security committee agreed on Thursday, a day after a row over the appointment of its chairman.

The committee, which oversees the work of Britain's intelligence community, has been in focus since the publication of the report into Russian influence was delayed by last year's election and the appointment of the group was also postponed.

Opposition lawmakers have accused the government of seeking to tighten its control of the group, but those attempts, which officials deny seeking, seemed to be derailed on Wednesday, when Conservative lawmaker Julian Lewis was voted as chairman.

He beat former minister Chris Grayling, who had been tipped as the government's choice, and Lewis was promptly expelled from the Conservative Party, in what some said was another sign that Prime Minister Boris Johnson will not truck dissent.

"The Committee has unanimously agreed this morning that it will publish the Report on Russia prepared by its predecessor before the house rises for the summer recess," it said in a statement.

Britain's parliament will break for the summer holidays on July 22.

The report into Russian influence was commissioned because of concerns that Moscow had interfered in British political life and was completed in March last year.

The delay in publishing has prompted criticism from opposition lawmakers, who have questioned the government's motives and suggested that it did not want to release the report's findings. The government has denied such criticism and the report's findings are not expected to be explosive.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Elizabeth Piper, editing by Sarah Young)

((guy.faulconbridge@thomsonreuters.com; 07825218698;))

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