• By The Financial District


Boris Johnson has been accused of giving the Kremlin the green light to meddle in UK politics after throwing out the recommendations of a long-suppressed report which found it is “the new normal,” Rob Merrick, deputy political editor of The Independent, wrote on July 22, 2020.

Security experts, campaigners and politicians united in criticism after the Russia report’s findings – including of “potential” interference in the Brexit referendum – were dismissed within hours. The government refused to hold an investigation into the 2016 vote, while also rejecting warnings of dirty Russian money and power infiltrating the “London laundromat” and the House of Lords.

The move came after the report by the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) accused successive Conservative prime ministers of failing to investigate whether Russia had intervened in the Brexit referendum, despite years of warnings.

Pauline Neville-Jones, a former Conservative security minister, said the response betrayed a failure to “change mindset” and devote resources to threats including “social media manipulation.” Julian Knight, the Tory chair of the Commons media committee – which warned of Russian interference in 2019 – said the fresh report “piles on the evidence that there can be no excuse for further delay.” And Bill Browder, the British businessperson and target of Vladimir Putin, warned: “We have identified the problem, we now need to fix it. If we don’t fix it, they will do more of it.”