The Lebedev letters show Boris Johnson is a national security risk
Private letters, minutes and documents show how Johnson put the nation’s security at risk through his relationship with the son of a Russian oligarch and former spy.
They show that the pair met dozens of times for drinks, dinners, parties and official meetings during which they built a close relationship, despite concerns from the security services.
In one early letter written in 2010 Johnson tells Lebedev, who had recently bought the Evening Standard and Independent newspapers that he would be "thrilled" to secure his support. Lebedev was more than willing to offer it.
Other correspondence and documents I uncovered show that Lebedev lobbied Johnson to back a new Russian arts festival with "substantial support" from the Kremlin.
Johnson went on to become a regular guest at Lebedev's Italian villa where the son of a Russian oligarch and former KGB officer, held what Italian news reports described as "X-rated" parties.
Johnson attended at least one of these events without his security officers and was later spotted by English tourists stumbling drunkenly into the local airport to return back to London.
Lebedev in turn was awarded a peerage by Johnson despite warnings from MI5 and MI6 that he was a security risk.
Analysis of the two men's own writings from this time also suggest that Lebedev had a significant influence on Johnson's views on Russia and helped to blind him to the threat posed by Putin.
Taken together, the documents I uncovered raise serious questions about Johnson’s suitability for office and the risks he has taken with the UK’s national security.
Here’s what the Lebedev letters reveal about the Prime Minister:
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