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Government Secrets Delay Novichok Inquiry Results

The British government’s lawyers have defended the exceptional delays in the disclosure of information in the inquiry into the Salisbury poisonings, citing the need to protect sensitive information from the hostile state of Russia. The government’s counsel, Cathryn McGahey, argued that anything put on an open system is no longer secure and that releasing sensitive information could compromise national security, thereby justifying the lengthy delay in the disclosure process. McGahey claimed that the government is not deliberately withholding information from the family, but rather, the delays are necessary to ensure the thoroughness and openness of the investigation.

However, the family’s counsel, Michael Mansfield, countered that there must be some material that could be released without sensitivities, and that the family wants rolling disclosure, including CCTV footage of Yulia Skripal allegedly being followed upon her arrival in the UK. Mansfield noted that it has been nearly two years since the first pre-inquest hearing and that the family is frustrated by the lack of progress.

The inquiry is investigating the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, his daughter Yulia, and ex-police officer Nick Bailey, who were exposed to Novichok nerve agent in Salisbury in March 2018. The investigation also includes the subsequent exposure of Dawn Sturgess, who died after being exposed to the substance in Amesbury, Wiltshire, in July 2018. The government’s lawyers have acknowledged that the disclosure process is exceptionally long, but defended the need for delays, arguing that compromises to the thoroughness or openness of the investigation would be unacceptable.

The Salisbury poisonings inquiry is a highly sensitive and complex investigation, and the government’s concerns about national security and the need to protect sensitive information are understandable. However, the family’s frustration with the pace of the investigation and the lack of transparency is also justified. As the inquiry continues, it remains to be seen how the government’s concerns about national security will be balanced against the need for transparency and accountability.

Dawn Sturgess

The family wants answers about the poisoning and the government’s response to it, and it is understandable that they feel frustrated by the lack of progress. The government must find a way to balance its legitimate concerns about national security with the need for transparency and accountability in the investigation. The ongoing delay in the disclosure of information has raised concerns about the government’s willingness to prioritize secrecy over transparency, and it is crucial that the government addresses these concerns in a timely manner.

The inquiry’s slow pace has also raised questions about the government’s ability to effectively investigate and provide answers to the family and the public about the Salisbury poisonings. The government’s reluctance to provide information has led to speculation and conspiracy theories about the poisoning, which can be damaging to the government’s reputation and the public’s trust. It is essential that the government takes steps to address the family’s concerns and provide a clearer update on the investigation’s progress.

The government’s concerns about national security and the need to protect sensitive information are understandable, but the family’s frustration with the pace of the investigation and the lack of transparency is also justified. The government must find a way to balance its legitimate concerns about national security with the need for transparency and accountability in the investigation. The ongoing delay in the disclosure of information has raised concerns about the government’s willingness to prioritize secrecy over transparency, and it is crucial that the government addresses these concerns in a timely manner.

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