Politicians have been given a fresh warning against Russian infiltration after a Tory grandee was caught up in a Moscow lobbying row.
Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham, a trade envoy to the Prime Minister, faces a probe by the security services after allegedly backing a campaign to target a dissident oligarch and have him deported back to Russia.
The Sunday Times claims Sir Henry helped Russians lawyers secure a candlelit dinner in Parliament and gave them advice on how to use non-governmental organisations and charities to ‘paint’ their campaign in a ‘positive light’.
Bellingham allegedly told the lobbyists he was ‘more than happy to assist’ and wrote to the Home Office.
It is also claimed he approached Security Minister Ben Wallace in March and asked him to raise their campaign with the National Crime Agency.
Last night, Mr Wallace said: ‘All members of the House of Commons and peers should be alive to the rules of the House about paid advocacy and lobbying.
There are interests with deep pockets at home and abroad who seek to use influence. My advice is to avoid all Russians bearing gifts.’
Mr Wallace has passed the case to MI5. Last night, Bellingham denied any wrongdoing.
By way of the response....
Elsewhere the Sunday times seems to have alleged this was an effort to recover 2 Billion pounds the Oligarch had stashed in the UK. So I guess MI5 will be checking the backs of a lot of Sofa's from this point on.
Edited by Stuart Galbraith, 01 July 2019 - 0646 AM.