Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has reiterated his conviction that there is “no evidence” Russia has ever sought to interfere with British politics and the Brexit votes.
Johnson made the remarks in the UK House of Commons on Tuesday, a week after British Prime Minister Theresa May was forced to reject allegations of Russian involvement in British democracy and Moscow’s meddling in Brexit.
“We’ve seen no evidence of any country successfully interfering with our robust electoral system,” the British foreign secretary said.
“But we know of course that Russia seeks to undermine our institutions using disinformation to further their ends including on social media and the best guarantee against that is a free open press and an accessible media,” Johnson added.
The British foreign secretary has on numerous occasions dismissed Russia’s meddling allegations, with a latest comment earlier this month that there was “not a sausage” of evidence against Moscow.
May also admitted last week that no such interference had occurred in the UK.
During a speech at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet at Mansion House on November 13, the British premier initially accused Russia of meddling in European elections, hacking attacks on Western government institutions and spreading fake news.
May claimed Russia was “threatening the international order on which we all depend,” alleging that Moscow has been doing so by “meddling in elections, and hacking the Danish Ministry of Defense and the Bundestag [German parliament] among many others.”
“We know what you are doing. And you will not succeed,” she said, adding that Russia should not underestimate the stability of Western society.
May’s speech was later denounced as “surprisingly full of ideological clichés” by the Russian Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Alexander Yakovenko, the Russian ambassador to the UK, also stressed that any notion of Moscow’s interference in Brexit was “outright insulting for the British government and the British people.”
Russia is already accused of interfering in the 2016 presidential election in the US, which helped Donald Trump, the current president of the United States, defeat Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. The issue has badly strained ties between the two countries while sparking retaliatory moves by both sides.
Russia, meanwhile, has consistently denied the accusations of meddling.