Cross-party MEPs seek parliamentary inquiry into influence of foreign powers in wake of Darroch affair

A cross-party group of MEPs has asked for a parliamentary inquiry into whether secret information is being used to the advantage of foreign powers. The request comes in the wake of the leak of official diplomatic correspondence between the British Ambassador in Washington, Kim Darroch, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The group of Green, Lib Dem, Labour, SNP and Plaid Cymru MEPs say that an investigation must go wider than looking into who was responsible for the leak and explore whether senior politicians are in effect working in the interests of foreign powers. The letter to the chair of Foreign Affairs Committee, Tom Tugendhat, calls on him to establish such an inquiry.

Molly Scott Cato MEP, who coordinated the letter, said:

“Without a full inquiry by Parliament it is difficult to separate fact from fiction and easy to dismiss claims as conspiracy theory. But this much we do know. The leaked memos were sent to Isabel Oakeshott who has had close associations with Nigel Farage and other leading pro-Brexit politicians. Farage has used the leak to advance his agenda of working with Trump to politicise and undermine civil servants and diplomats. Oakeshott is employed by Michael Ashcroft and both have made frequent visits to Russia and have close connections there.

“This is a perilous time for our country. A full parliamentary enquiry would help establish who is attacking the safeguards we have come to expect in our democracy and who does and doesn’t have the best interests of our country at heart.”