Johnson says Britain was not influenced by Russian Federation in Brexit vote

Report: UK Officials Avoided Looking Into Russian Meddling | Time

UK report claims Russia poses 'immediate security threat'

Instead, the intelligence community "took their eye off the ball", it said, despite open source indications that Russian Federation sought to influence the Brexit campaign.

The Government will respond to the report by stepping up its efforts to ensure the UK's security services have all of the powers they need.

The Home Office is considering "like-minded global partners' legislation" on foreign agent registration.

Boris Johnson is pushing ahead with plans to bolster the UK's counter-espionage laws.

In a 20-page response, the government denied that it had "badly underestimated" the Russian threat and rejected the call for a commission to investigate alleged Russian meddling during the Brexit referendum.

Mr Thomas-Symonds said: "On every level the government's response does not appear to be equal to the threat". An industry of lawyers, accountants and estate agents help enable this influence, it added.

Social media companies should be forced to remove "covert hostile state material" as soon as possible or face being named and shamed. The fusion between state, business, and serious and organised crime provides further weight and leverage: "Russian Federation is able to pose an all-encompassing security threat - which is fuelled by paranoia about the West and a desire to be seen as a resurgent great power", it said.

Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, said this morning that a foreign agent registration act could be brought in by the Government.

"We do not interfere at all", he told the BBC.

'But to be clear, what that does is make it easier if someone is then found and they failed to register, for example to extradite them. "But it's not that our intelligence agencies are not looking for interference".

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The United Kingdom failed to investigate interference from Russian Federation in the 2016 Brexit referendum, according to a delayed report by Britain's parliamentary intelligence and security committee.

But it accused the Government of failing to ask the intelligence services to examine such claims.

"The outrage isn't if there is interference, the outrage is no one wanted to know if there was interference".

Jones said because of the UK's paper-based voting system, it would have been unlikely for Russian cyber attacks to alter the actual referendum vote.

The committee called on social media to take action and remove hostile state material, as well as calling for greater global cooperation, perhaps looking to its USA allies: "We need other countries to step up with the United Kingdom and attach a cost to Putin's actions".

The government's failure to conduct a probe at the time or since - and therefore the committee's inability to conclude whether or not Russian Federation had meddled in the referendum - has created something of a diplomatic embarrassment for Britain.

"The report is very clear that the government has under-estimated the response required to Russian Federation and it is imperative we learn the lessons from the mistakes that have been made".

'It took no action partly because it didn't want to look but it also took no action because of a chronic failure of strategic leadership.

The committee said: "Had the relevant parts of the intelligence community conducted a similar threat assessment prior to the [EU] referendum, it is inconceivable that they would not have reached the same conclusion as to Russian intent, which might then have led them to take action to protect the process".

"The people of this country didn't vote to leave the European Union because of pressure from Russia or Russian interference - they voted because they wanted to take back control", Johnson told parliament, describing the criticism as being led by those lawmakers who voted to stay in the European Union at the 2016 referendum.

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