Russian interference inquiry has caused MP’s warning to sue Boris Johnson. Cross-party group says it will take action if PM fails to order independent investigation.
The group of the cross party MP’s are threatening to sue Boris Johnson unless he orders an independent investigation into Russian interference in recent UK elections and the 2016 Brexit vote.
The MPs say the government’s refusal to investigate Kremlin meddling is a breach of the European convention on human rights, which enshrines the right to free elections in protocol 1.
The group says it will take the prime minister to court if he fails to implement what it describes as
essential steps to protect future elections. It has sent him a pre-action letter, to which Downing Street has two weeks to respond.
Caroline Lucas, the Green MP for Brighton, said: “Democratic processes are clearly at risk. It seems that the integrity of our elections is being deliberately undermined. Nothing could be more serious for our democracy. “Ministers’ behaviour to date has been shockingly complacent and negligent.
The government cannot be allowed to shirk this because Tory party coffers are topped up with Russian money.” The MPs call on the government to implement the recommendations of parliament’s intelligence and security committee (ISC).
Its long-awaited Russia report, which Johnson suppressed, before the last general election, was finally published last month.
The government says it has seen no evidence of “successful” Moscow interference.
The ISC, however, said Johnson and his predecessor Theresa May made no effort to look for it, and nor did Britain’s security agencies, with MI5 providing the committee with just five lines of text.
UK government ‘did not want to know’ about Russian interference in EU referendum – The ISC described the UK as a clear target for Russian disinformation and money laundering, and called on Johnson to launch a full inquiry.
He dismissed the request last month. The group of MPs has called for a series of legislative reforms. It wants a single body to be legally responsible for combating foreign influence and a ban on donations from abroad. It says online political adverts should make the source of funding clear, and that agents who work for foreign states should be forced to register, as in the US. All the Citizens, a new non-profit group, is a co-claimant in the legal action, which is being brought by the law firm Leigh Day.
All the Citizens has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to cover legal costs and has released a video. Other claimants include the Labour MPs Chris Bryant and Ben Bradshaw, the non-affiliated peer Patience Wheatcroft, the Lib Dem peer Paul Strasburger and the SNP MP Alyn Smith. This is according to the UK Guardian News source.
Bradshaw said voters deserved to know the extent of Russian interference in British politics and accused the government of looking the other way.
Strasburger said: ‘The prime minister’s refusal to even ask our intelligence services what the Russians did to influence the referendum is a total dereliction of his duty to protect us.” Downing Street has been approached for comment.