Vote Leave were aware of “odd-looking cyber activity” during EU referendum campaign

PUBLISHED: 13:55 23 December 2017 | UPDATED: 14:03 23 December 2017

Michael Gove and Boris Johnson during a Vote Leave EU referendum campaign event. Picture:Ben Birchall/PA

Michael Gove and Boris Johnson during a Vote Leave EU referendum campaign event. Picture:Ben Birchall/PA

PA Archive/PA Images

A former director of Vote Leave has told the Commons he was aware of “a certain amount of odd-looking cyber activity” during the EU referendum campaign.

Senior Tory MP Bernard Jenkin even speculated that the Government’s online voter registration system crashed because of a cyber attack, claims which are denied by the Government.

Mr Jenkin told MPs: “I was a director of Vote Leave at the time of the referendum, and I can attest that we were aware of a certain amount of odd-looking cyber activity.

“We speculated that the crash of the online voter registration system was in fact the result of a cyber attack.

“Now, this was disputed by the Government and continues to be disputed, but whether or not this is true, the Government needs to create more resilient systems.”

Mr Jenkin, chairman of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs select committee, went on to say Russia wanted “to be seen tweaking the face of the west” and proving what they can do, rather than having any impact.

“They want us to react, and it’s somewhat of a dilemma, they want us to hold debates like this,” said Mr Jenkin.

“President Putin is manipulating this debate. He will be chortling in the Kremlin that we are discussing these matters and putting Russia centre stage.

“It’s exactly what he wants.”

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