Monday, Oct 25

Report released on Russian interference in UK referandum

It said there were open source indications that Russia had sought to influence the Brexit campaign but that hard evidence had not been produced.
21.07.2020 - 16:28

Britain’s government failed to determine whether Russia meddled in the 2016 referendum on membership in the EU, a parliamentary report released on Tuesday said, demanding the intelligence community investigate the issue and make its findings public.

The long-anticipated report by parliament’s intelligence and security committee found that Russia had tried to influence a separate referendum in 2014 when voters in Scotland rejected independence.

"THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OF INTERVENTION"

But it said the committee was unable to determine whether Russia attempted to influence the European Union referendum. When asked for evidence, Britain’s main domestic intelligence agency MI5 had produced just six lines of text, it said.

“It is nonetheless the Committee’s view that the UK Intelligence Community should produce an analogous assessment of potential Russian interference in the EU referendum and that an unclassified summary of it be published,” it said in the report, which was produced more than a year ago and shelved until now.

RUSSIA REJECTS ALL CLAIMS

The government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who came to power as one of the leading figures in the victorious campaign to leave the EU, responded saying it had seen no evidence of “successful” Russian intervention in the referendum.

The report cast Russia as a hostile power which posed a significant threat to Britain and the West across a range of fronts, from espionage and cyber to election meddling and laundering dirty money.

“It appears that Russia considers the UK one of its top Western intelligence targets,” the report said.

The Kremlin said Russia has never interfered in another country’s electoral processes. Russia has repeatedly denied meddling in the West, casting the United States and Britain as gripped by anti-Russian hysteria.