The intelligence watchdog is due to finally be set up this afternoon after months on hiatus around the snap election.
And MPs today said its first task should be to examine allegations Russian ‘troll factories’ bombarded UK voters with anti-EU propaganda in the run up to the referendum last year.
Prime Minister Theresa May used a major speech on Monday night to warn the Kremlin Britain was aware of its activities abroad.
Labour MP Mary Creagh (file image left)used Prime Minister’s Questions to demand Theresa May (pictured right during weekly contest yesterday) the committee get up and running
Prime Minister Theresa May used a major speech on Monday night to warn the Vladimir Putin (pictured yesterday in Istra) that Britain was aware of Russian activities abroad.
Labour MP Mary Creagh used Prime Minister’s Questions to demand the committee get up and running.
She said: ‘The Foreign Secretary told this House that he has seen no evidence of Russian interference in UK elections or the referendum.
‘Yet on Monday the Prime Minister warned Russia not to meddle in western democracies, and today there are reports that fake Russian Twitter accounts churned out thousands of messages in an attempt to influence the EU referendum result.
‘Has the Foreign Secretary been kept in the dark on the intelligence? Has he not read it, or is he wilfully blind?’
Addressing Mrs May directly, she said: ‘Will you now stop dragging her feet and set up the Intelligence and Security Committee to look urgently into the Kremlin’s attempts to undermine our democracy?’
Mrs May replied that the committee was due to be established later that day – but insisted her warning on Monday night had not been about interference in Britain.
Earlier this week, Labour’s Ben Bradshaw called on ministers to ‘come clean’ about what they know and launch a fully independent inquiry.
He told the Mirror: ‘In the face of mounting evidence of Kremlin interference in the Referendum we now have several investigations – but none have the power to get to the truth fast.’
Dominic Grieve, the former Tory Attorney General, is expected to be re-appointed as chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee
Dominic Grieve, the former Tory Attorney General, is expected to be re-appointed as chairman of the committee if a Commons motion is passed tonight.
He will be joined by Labour MPs Caroline Flint, Kevan Jones and David Hanson, Tories Keith Simpson and Richard Benyon and SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford.
All of the committee members are security vetted to ensure they can be given access to secret documents.
In a parallel inquiry, the Culture, Media and Sport Committee is investigating the role of Russian-funded advertising on social media platforms such as Facebook.
Committee chair Damian Collins last month wrote to Facebook for evidence ‘on the role of foreign actors abusing platforms such as yours to interfere in the political discourse of other nations’.