Report to show Russia tried to interfere in Scottish and Brexit referendums
A long-delayed report on Russian interference into UK politics is expected to show the Kremlin tried to influence the results in both the Brexit and Scottish independence referendums.
The Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) will release the Russia report next week before parliament rises for a six-week summer break.
The report comes as it was revealed by foreign secretary Dominic Raab on Thursday that “Russian actors” tried to influence the 2019 General Election by “amplifying” a leaked confidential trade document later released by Jeremy Corbyn during the campaign.
It was also revealed on the same day that the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is 95 per cent certain Kremlin-backed hackers have been trying to steal secrets from Covid-19 vaccine trials from around the world.
The Sunday Times reports today that the ISC report will also show that Russia tried to meddle in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum and has tried to influence politics in the country in the years after by setting up an office for state-backed news outlet Sputnik in Edinburgh.
Alyn Smith, SNP foreign affairs spokesman, told the Sunday Times: “There’s not a doubt in my mind that there are bad actors active in the Scottish debate, especially online.”
The report is also expected to show that the Kremlin interfered in the 2016 Brexit vote, but that the effect was “unquantifiable”.
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Russia’s UK ambassador Andrey Kelin told the BBC today that Russia does not interfere in other country’s domestic politics.
“We do not interfere at all,” he said.
“We do not see any point of interfering, because for us whether it is Conservative party or Labour party at the head of this country we will try to settle relations and to establish better relations than now.”
The report will be released after Julian Lewis launched a mini-coup to win the chair of the committee from Boris Johnson’s handpicked candidate Chris Grayling.
Lewis promptly had the Tory party whip removed for colluding with Labour and SNP MPs to win the position.