“I have seen absolutely no evidence of successful Russian interference in any electoral event.”

Boris Johnson, House of Commons

February 22, 2022

Facts

The Russia report, published in July 2020, found that the government and intelligence agencies had made no effort to find out if the Kremlin had successfully (or unsuccessfully) interfered in the Brexit referendum. 

Steward Hosie, an SNP MP who sits on the cross-party committee said at the time: “The report reveals that no one in government knew if Russia interfered in or sought to influence the referendum because they did not want to know.

“We were told that they hadn’t seen any evidence, but that is meaningless if they hadn’t looked for it,” he said, adding that no one wanted to touch the issue with a “10ft barge pole”.

Verdict

Johnson’s statement that he had seen “no evidence of successful Russian interference in any electoral event” may have been true. But it was misleading because the Prime Minister’s reply could have created the impression that he’d sought to obtain evidence. As far as we know he hadn’t.  According to the Ministerial Code,  “It is of paramount importance that Ministers give accurate and truthful information to Parliament, correcting any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity. “ This is just one of a number of misleading statements made by Boris Johnson and his ministers about Russian funding, both inside and outside parliament.

We approached Mr Johnson’s office, the Cabinet Office and the No 10 Press Office to give him a chance to comment, but received no response. 

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