Downing Street has nominated five Conservative MPs to the nine-strong House of Commons committee set to publish a long-awaited report into alleged Russian interference in UK politics.
Former Cabinet minister Chris Grayling, who is touted to be the new chair of the powerful Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), is on the list of nominees set to be approved by MPs next week.
He is joined by fellow Conservative former cabinet minister Theresa Villiers and other Tory MPs Sir John Hayes, Julian Lewis and Mark Pritchard.
Labour MPs Diana Johnson and Kevan Jones, SNP MP Stewart Hosie and Labour peer Lord West, the former head of the Royal Navy, are the other nominees.
MPs will be asked to approve the nominations next week via a parliamentary motion tabled by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, with the House of Lords also asked to approve the nomination of Lord West.
The approved members of the committee, which oversees UK intelligence matters, will then elect a chair, with Mr Grayling widely expected to take on the position.
They will then be expected to soon publish a report into alleged Russian interference in the UK, compiled by their predecessors on the ISC.
Critics have accused the government of sitting on the report for nine months.
Former ISC chair Dominic Grieve, the ex-Tory MP, said the report had been sent to Downing Street on 17 October and was ready for publication once it had been signed off, a process that usually takes up to 10 days.
However, the report was not released for publication by Mr Johnson before December’s general election, at which point the former members of the ISC relinquished their roles.
It has since taken almost seven months for Downing Street to nominate new ISC members and so allow for the report to be published.
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Asked on Thursday how soon the Russia report could be published after the new ISC is formed, the prime minister’s spokesman said: “Publication is a matter for the committee but we would urge them to publish as soon as possible.”
The government has been accused by opposition parties of “parachuting” in Mr Grayling as the new head of the ISC, with Tory MPs set to hold a majority when the committee elects its chair.
Mr Grayling was sacked as a cabinet minister by Mr Johnson when he became prime minister last July, but the pair were colleagues as part of the Vote Leave campaign during the EU referendum.
During his previous nine years as a government minister, including spells in three different Cabinet roles, Mr Grayling became known by critics as “failing Grayling” due to a number of controversies at his various departments.
The SNP’s Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, said it was “deeply concerning that the latest plan devised by Dominic Cummings and Boris Johnson will aim to parachute Chris Grayling as chair of the committee by putting forward favourable Tory members who will vote him through as chair”.
“The chair of the ISC has long been appointed by consensus and this move does nothing less than undermine the role of the ISC and breach its independence,” he added.
“The likely nomination of Chris Grayling as chair – who has a distinct record in government as a jack of all trades and master of none – will deliver a blow to the effectiveness of the committee’s work.”