Tuesday 21 July 2020 8:42 am

Russia 'interfered with Scottish referendum', report to say

A forthcoming report into Russia’s influence on British politics is set to conclude the Kremlin attempted to influence the result of the Scottish independence referendum, it is reported.

Russia tried to split the UK in the 2014 referendum, the Daily Telegraph reported ahead of the official publication later this morning.

However, Russian President Vladimir Putin did not interfere with the 2016 Brexit vote, parliament’s intelligence and security committee’s report will conclude.

The Telegraph said the official report will say that the 2014 Scottish independence referendum represented “the first post-Soviet interference in a Western democratic election”.

Election interference could have seen the Kremlin use state-backed news outlines such as RT and Sputnik, as it has been accused of doing in the past.

Russia has also been linked to automated bot and troll Twitter and Facebook accounts to spread false news.

Parliament’s report will also cover allegations of Russia cyber attacks against the UK and the Salisbury poisoning incident in 2018. That saw former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter hospitalised after an attempted killing.

It could also review the UK’s responses to Russian threats and make suggestions for other ways to deter attacks.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been criticised for failing to approve the report’s publication ahead of December’s election.

That forced the cross-party committee of MPs to disband, and only reunite last week, causing a huge delay to the report’s publication.

Ex-transport minister Chris Grayling was Johnson’s preferred pick to chair the committee. But some Tory members rebelled and voted for Julian Lewis instead, who has become the new chair. 

Johnson stripped Lewis of the Tory whip as a result.