LONDON — Prime Minister Theresa May has been keeping an official report into the funding of terrorism in the UK secret since last year, according to a report in the Guardian.
The report — which the Conservative government led by David Cameron agreed as part of a deal with the Liberal Democrats in 2015 — was finished last year but May has up to now refused to make its findings public, the Guardian said.
Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas says the delay in publishing the report could be due to its focus on Saudi Arabia and what it would mean for Britain’s close political ties with the contentious Gulf state.
Saudi Arabia was one of the first places May visited in her mission to promote “global Britain” following her triggering of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.
Lucas said May’s failure to publish the report “leaves question marks over whether their decision is influenced by our diplomatic ties.
“To defeat terror it’s vital that politicians have full view of the facts, even if they are inconvenient for the government,” she added.
Lucas and fellow Green Party leader Jonathan Bartley wrote for Business Insider in the run-up to the June 8 general election that Britain is guilty of funding a Saudi regime that has given money and weapons to the Islamic State.
“The UK is currently complicit in pandering to and arming the Saudi regime,” the pair said.
“It knows full well that Saudi Arabia turns a blind eye whilst money and weapons flow freely to D’aesh. Indeed there is simply no excuse for Britain’s ‘special relationship’ with the head-choppers of Riyadh to be exempt from a review of counter-terrorism, since our support for the regime is thought by many to actively undermine our security.”
Lucas this week submitted a question to Prime Minister May asking for an update on when MPs could expect the report to be published. May responded saying the government was “considering advice on what is able to be published and will report to Parliament with an update in due course.”
Home Office minister Sarah Newton confirmed this week that it was May’s decision alone whether to publish the report into how terrorism in the UK is funded.
“The review into the funding of Islamist extremism in the UK was commissioned by the former prime minister and reported to the home secretary and the prime minister in 2016,” Newton told parliament.
“The review has improved the government’s understanding of the nature, scale and sources of funding for Islamist extremism in the UK. Publication of the review is a decision for the prime minister.”
The report was commissioned by Cameron in 2015 and approved by then-Home Secretary May in order to persuade the Liberal Democrats to vote with the government on launching air strikes on Syria. Tory ministers Amber Rudd and Boris Johnson have since suggested that the report was never intended to be made public.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon have been among a chorus of political figures calling on May to publish the report. The prime minister’s failure to publicise its findings became a major topic of discussion in the days leading up to the snap election following Islamist terror attacks in Manchester and London.