Leaked report says Russian interference may have affected Brexit referendum result
PUBLISHED: 11:54 18 November 2019 | UPDATED: 12:02 18 November 2019
PA Wire/PA Images
A leaked document examining the impact of Russian interference on UK elections suggests the 2016 referendum into leaving the EU was impacted by foreign agents.
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Boris Johnson's government had repeatedly refused to release the report, claiming there was not enough time to publish it ahead of the election.
However, a copy of the report published by The Times concludes Russian interference may have affected the 2016 referendum, although the impact is 'unquantifiable'.
The Times has not said how they got the information, though concerns have now been raised about the security of next month's election.
Parliament's intelligence committee, chaired by Dominic Grieve, said British intelligence services failed to devote enough resources to counter the threat and highlighted the impact of articles posted by Russian new sites that were widely disseminated on social media, according to The Times.
Emily Thornberry, the opposition Labour Party's foreign affairs spokeswoman, said the leaks raise questions that deserve answers.
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"Boris Johnson therefore needs to clear up the confusion, spin and speculation around this (intelligence committee) report by publishing it in full at the earliest opportunity.
"If not, people will rightly continue to ask: what is he trying to hide from the British public and why?"
READ MORE: Boris Johnson claims there is 'no evidence' for Russian political interference
READ MORE: Dominic Grieve says government's refusal to publish Russia report is 'bogus'
The government has said it needs more time to review security implications of the report, and says it will likely be released after the election.
However, the Associated Press reports that critics have alleged the report is being withheld because it shows Russians have made large donations to the Conservative Party, which is seeking to win a majority that would allow Johnson to push his Brexit deal through parliament.
There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by any of the donors.
Speaking last week, the prime minister was asked if there was anything to hide in the report and said: "Absolutely not."
"There is no evidence for that and I think that you have got to be very careful before you simply cast aspersions on everybody who comes from a certain country just because of their nationality."
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