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21 Jul, 2020 10:09

UK parliament's intelligence report claims Russia tried to ‘influence’ Scottish referendum, says spy agencies should probe Brexit

UK parliament's intelligence report claims Russia tried to ‘influence’ Scottish referendum, says spy agencies should probe Brexit

A report on alleged Russian interference in UK politics claims Moscow tried to meddle in the 2014 Scottish referendum and said spy agencies should probe “potential interference” in the Brexit vote. Moscow denies the allegations.

The report, published by the British parliament's intelligence and security committee on Tuesday, hit out at successive UK prime ministers for failing to investigate fears of Russian interference in the 2018 EU referendum, claiming there had been no assessment of the Kremlin’s alleged meddling.

The UK’s spy agency MI5 was also singled out for not having provided adequate evidence – with the authors of the report noting that "In response to our request for written evidence at the outset of the Inquiry, MI5 initially provided just six lines of text.”

Moscow has denied all allegations of interference in UK politics.

Also on rt.com Britain’s charges of hacking & meddling ‘make no sense’ but Russia is ready to turn the page & work with UK – ambassador 

The committee – made up of a cross-party group of UK MPs – thanked a long list of people for their contributions to the inquiry. They curiously included former MI6 spy Christopher Steele, American journalist Anne Applebaum, American-British financier Bill Browder and British security specialist Edward Lucas.

During a media conference to unveil the report, Scottish National Party MP Stewart Hosie slammed the Tory administration of then-PM Theresa May for showing a “lack of curiosity" in alleged Russian influence, following the US Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails hack in 2016.

Fellow panel member Kevan Jones – Labour MP for North Durham – insisted that there is "quite rightly" a reluctance among UK intelligence agencies to involve themselves in electoral matters. However, Jones claimed that there were "flashing lights" in terms of the Scottish independence referendum and the DNC emails, which was a political question that should have been probed – adding "That is a major failing."

The long-awaited 'Russia Report' was published almost nine months after PM Boris Johnson is believed to have received it. It was completed over a year ago and has gone through a series of redactions to remove “sensitive information” from public view.

After long-held suspicions from the UK political establishment that the Kremlin had been trying to interfere in UK democratic elections, an investigation was prompted, following the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury in March 2018.

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