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New report suggests UK government showed indifference toward Russia meddling in Brexit campaign

A long anticipated report from the U.K. Parliament details the government's lack of concentration when it came to assessing the Russian threat during the 2016 Brexit Referendum vote

Updated: July 21, 2020 - 12:45pm

A new report out of the United Kingdom, on the matter of Russian interference during British elections, highlights the British government's apathy toward potential threats to its democracy.

The authors of the report wrote that the British government "actively" avoided the evidence suggesting Russia had threatened to interfere in the EU's 2016 Brexit referendum vote.

The report, which is from from the parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee, said it would be "difficult – if not impossible – to prove" that Russia tried to influence Brexit, but that the government was "slow to recognize the existence of a threat."

According to the report, Russia views England as a top intelligence target in the West and that individuals with close personal ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin are "well integrated into the U.K. business, political and social scene."

British government officials responded to the report with a 20-page document denying that they had underestimated the potential of a Russian threat. "We have seen no evidence of successful interference in the EU Referendum," read a portion of the rebuttal. 

On Tuesday, a Kremlin spokesman said that Russia "never interfered in electoral process, not in the United States, not in Britain, not in any other country."

Though the parliamentary report was submitted originally in October of 2019, its was delayed for more than six-months, owing to political stalling and some bureaucratic resistance from the Conservative party, led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson. 

The Labour Party, now in the minority, has accused the government of postponing the report because it would bring up questions concerning the ties between Russia and the 2016 pro-Brexit campaign, which Johnson, in large part, led.