Mover: Layla Moran MP (Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs).
Summation: Alistair Carmichael MP (Spokesperson on Home Affairs).
Conference notes that the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament's 'Russia Report' was published in July 2020, after many months of delay by the Conservative Government.
Conference notes with particular concern the report's findings that:
- "The UK is clearly a target for Russia's disinformation campaigns and political influence operations".
- The Conservative Government failed to take action to protect the UK against potential Russian interference in the 2016 EU referendum, and has commissioned no retrospective assessment of whether such interference took place.
- The Government has continued to fail to take the threat that Putin's Russia poses to our democracy seriously, despite clear evidence that it interfered to help Donald Trump become US President in 2016.
- Lax regulation has turned London into a 'laundromat' for illicit finance, and the National Crime Agency lacks the resources required to tackle it.
- Members of the Russian elite with close links to Putin are, through involvement in political organisations and donations to political parties, in positions "to assist Russian influence operations" in the UK.
Conference further notes with concern that:
- Transparency International has identified more than œ5 billion worth of UK properties bought using suspicious wealth, one fifth of which originates from Russia.
- The Government has still not introduced legislation to establish a public beneficial ownership register of overseas entities that own UK property, despite promising it nearly five years ago.
Conference reaffirms the Liberal Democrat commitments to:
- Take big money out of politics by reforming party funding in line with the Committee on Standards in Public Life's 2011 report, including a cap on donations.
- Substantially increase funding for the National Crime Agency.
Conference calls on the Government to:
- Commission a wide-ranging and properly-funded investigation into potential Russian interference in our democracy, including the 2016 EU referendum, and publish the report as soon as possible.
- Make it a national security priority to protect the UK's democratic processes - including local democracy - from any threats or interference, with proper resourcing and clear ministerial responsibility.
- Introduce the Registration of Overseas Entities Bill without further delay.
- Amend the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 to include serious and organised crime as grounds for introducing sanctions.
- Cease its attempts to undermine parliamentary scrutiny, including by interfering in the membership of committees.
Conference further calls for the independence of the Intelligence and Security Committee to be strengthened by:
- Enabling the Houses of Parliament to elect its members.
- Giving it the power to decide what it publishes and when.
Mover: 7 minutes; summation of motion and movers and summation of any amendments: 4 minutes; all other speakers: 3 minutes.
For eligibility and procedure for speaking in this debate, see page 6.
The deadline for amendments to this motion is 13.00, Monday 8 March; see page 8. Amendments selected for debate will be published in the Conference Extra and Saturday Conference Daily updates to the Conference Agenda. The deadline for requests for separate votes is 09.30 Friday 19 March; see page 5.