Campaigners are preparing to launch a legal challenge to demand the government holds a public inquiry into political interference during the Brexit referendum.
Pressure group Fair Vote UK wants an independent probe – similar to the Mueller investigation in America – to look at concerns over Russian disinformation, the involvement of data companies and electoral spending during the 2016 vote.
The group said it was seeking to pursue a judicial review and that its lawyers had sent a pre-action letter to the government after it rejected earlier calls for an inquiry.
Kyle Taylor, director of Fair Vote UK, said there was “significant public concern” over the referendum process.
He said: “By not holding an inquiry, the UK makes it a certainty that future elections will be tainted in the same way… only a public inquiry headed by a judge with formal powers to compel witnesses can find out what truly happened.”
Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson has previously demanded a “Mueller-style” probe based on the FBI investigation into Russian links to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
He said he hoped Fair Vote UK’s legal challenge would “force a government re-think”.
He said: “Mueller has shown that we need to follow the money – and the lies – to get to the truth about how votes are unfairly won.
“Given what we know about law-breaking, Russian involvement and massive data abuse issues, it is essential that we have a full public inquiry into what happened in the referendum.
“We need to know what went wrong so we can fix it and safeguard our democracy.”
The letter sent to the government by lawyers on behalf of Fair Vote UK says that it is seeking the investigation due to “the scale of the evidence of irregular and unlawful conduct”.
Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael said he was backing the group’s call, adding: “I… hope we finally get the answers we as citizens need.”