Former MI5 chief Jonathan Evans says the government should be clear about their reasons for delaying the report [MI5/Public domain]

The former head of MI5 has backed calls for a parliamentary report into alleged Russian interference in the UK democratic process to be published before the general election.

Downing Street has been accused of holding back the report by the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) after indicating it would not be cleared for release before Parliament is dissolved on Wednesday.

However, Lord Evans of Weardale, who was MI5 director-general until 2013, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that if ministers were not prepared to release it, they should explain why.

“In principle, I think it should be released,” he said.

“Part of the

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