A long-awaited report on alleged Russian interference in British democracy will be published on Tuesday, despite attempts from a leading Brexiteer to delay the publication further.
The report’s publication was made ready in March last year, but eventually delayed by Boris Johnson’s decision to call a general election and the need to re-establish parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee.
The document, which was prepared by the committee’s members in the previous parliament, will emerge just days after foreign secretary Dominic Raab claimed it was ‘almost certain’ that Russia had tried to interfere in the 2019 election.
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He said ‘Russian actors’ had tried to influence the contest by ‘amplifying’ stolen government papers online.
The documents – relating to US-UK trade talks – were picked up by then Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn who said they were evidence the Conservatives were preparing to open up the NHS to US pharmaceutical companies.
The UK, US and Canada also claimed that Russian intelligence-linked hackers tried to steal details of research into coronavirus vaccines.
Russia’s ambassador to the UK Andrei Kelin dismissed the accusations in a BBC interview.
He said his country had no interest in interfering in British domestic politics.
‘I do not see any point in using this subject as a matter of interference,’ he said.
‘We do not interfere at all. We do not see any point in interference because for us, whether it will be (the) Conservative Party or Labour’s party at the head of this country, we will try to settle relations and to establish better relations than now.’
Asked about the alleged attempts to steal details of coronavirus research, Kelin said: ‘I don’t believe in this story at all, there is no sense in it.’
Earlier Brexiteer donor Arron Banks issued a legal letter to the Commons committee calling on MPs to inform him if he is mentioned in the document, and requesting a right-to-reply before the publication – leading to fears of a further delay.