Boris Johnson showed a “reckless disregard for national security” by holding a private meeting with a former KGB agent after the poisoning in Salisbury, Labor has said.

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday that it was “irresponsible” and “unthinkable” for Mr Johnson, then foreign secretary, to have such a meeting without officials present after chemical attack on UK territory.

After that, the opposition leader repeatedly called for an investigation Mr. Johnson told MPs that he “definitely” met in Italy unaccompanied by Russian oligarch and former Evening Standard owner Alexander Lebedev in April 2018.

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This happened just a month after the deadly Salisbury Newbie the use of a nerve agent, which caused international condemnation of the Russian leader Vladimir Putin, who rejected statements about the Kremlin’s involvement.

Ministers initially told the House of Commons last week that Mr Johnson had reported the meeting to officials “as necessary”, but issued a clarification minutes later, saying the prime minister “thinks” he was referring to it’s a civil servant.

The controversy sparked opposition demands for the prime minister to resign immediately resignation as Tory leader and not remain in Downing Street until his replacement is chosen.

Ms Cooper told Ridge: “I think the question is whether you have somebody who is just being careless about national security interests. We don’t know what happened at that meeting, we don’t even know if the Prime Minister really announced the meeting properly or informed the officials afterwards.”

She added: “It seems inconceivable that at the time we had a chemical attack on British soil, and it was so serious that we had a NATO meeting about it, about how to respond to Russia, that at that time you could have foreign minister, who would then simply go to a meeting with a former KGB agent, someone who has since been sanctioned by Canada for his close ties to Putin.

“Having this meeting at that time shows a reckless disregard for national security risks. We really need to know the facts about what happened and why he was so irresponsible with our national security at that time.”

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The Salisbury nerve agent attack sparked international condemnation of Moscow

Mr Johnson’s former top adviser Dominic Cummings also claimed the prime minister met Mr Lebedev at the start of the COVID-19 crisis in March 2020 without officials present.

This happened amid an investigation by the Intelligence and Security Committee of the House of Commons into the appointment in 2020 to the House of Lords of Lebedev’s son, Evgeny Lebedevowner of the London Evening Standard and shareholder in The Independent.

The Prime Minister has repeatedly denied that he interfered with Lord Lebedev being offered a peerage, despite being warned by British intelligence that the move could pose a security threat.

Peer, whose full title is Baron Lebedev of Hampton and Siberia, said yes “nothing to hide” and supported the publication advice associated with his appointment.

https://news.sky.com/story/boris-johnson-showed-careless-disregard-for-national-security-over-private-meeting-with-ex-kgb-agent-alexander-lebedev-says-labour-12649267

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