Law to jail Russian spies has been delayed until 2020 because of ‘a massive backlog of legislation in Parliament’

Law to jail Russian spies has been delayed until 2020 because of 'a massive backlog of legislation in Parliament'

A MAJOR new law to jail Russian spies causing mayhem in Britain has been delayed until 2020 because of a Parliament logjam.
The Sun can reveal that the Home Office is drawing up a new Espionage Bill to clamp down on hostile states’ activities.
AFP or licensors Work began on the new Espionage Bill after last year’s Novichok attack on Salisbury
The catch-all law will close down legal loopholes to ensure it is always illegal to carry out any work here for potential enemy powers, such as Russia or China.
Work began on it when Theresa May promised to get tough on Russia’s shadowy GRU military intelligence service after the Salisbury nerve attack outrage a year ago yesterday.
But security chiefs have been left frustrated after its introduction date has been repeatedly delayed, it is suspected because of the massive backlog of new legislation built up through the Brexit logjam that has ensnared Parliament.
No10 have now agreed to give the Espionage Bill a slot in the Commons in early to mid 2020, but have also warned that too may slip.
A senior security source told The Sun: “We have been given a provisional time slot for end of the second session, but that seems to be drifting. This needs to be done now.”
The bill is intended to replicate the US’s Foreign Agents Registration Act, which forces any agent of a foreign power to disclose themselves and their activities.
Australia also recently introduced a similar law to battle soft spying, such as influence operations and financial hacking.
The delay sparked MPs’ anger.
Tory MP and former Army Intelligence Corps soldier Bob Seely said: “This is a national security priority and should be treated as such, so I am very disappointed to hear the bill is being delayed.
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“The barmy reality is that you can still work for the GRU in this country, and you will not be committing an offence.”
Mr Seely added: “Our spy laws are hopelessly out of date for the modern era where hybrid conflict takes many forms”.
No10 sources insisted that the Home Office has still not been finished the bill and it will be introduced as soon as work on it is complete.
AFP or licensors The bill will not be presented to Parliament until 2020

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