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Closed petition Hold a public inquiry into Russian interference in UK politics

Against the background of Russian aggression against the Ukraine there are widespread concerns that Russia has interfered in UK politics and continues to do so. To protect our democracy a full public inquiry should be held to determine if this is the case and if so, the extent of that interference

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There are numerous reports of interference and attempted interference by the Russians in the political processes of several Western countries in recent years. Such interference is not acceptable in any country including the UK. A public inquiry is needed to determine the extent of any Russian interference in UK politics and to determine the extent of any undue influence the Russians may have had over our democratic processes and institutions, including Government Ministers and Members of Parliament.

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Government responded

This response was given on 21 March 2022

The UK has a robust process to protect against foreign interference, led by the intelligence and security agencies. There are no plans to alter this approach or initiate a public inquiry.

Read the response in full

It is, and always shall be, an absolute priority for the Government to protect the UK’s democratic processes against foreign interference. The Intelligence and Security Agencies produce and contribute to regular assessments of state threats, including potential malign interference. We keep those assessments under constant review and, where necessary, update them in response to new intelligence. As new information emerges, the Government will always consider the most appropriate use of any intelligence received, including whether it might be appropriate to make that intelligence public. Given this long standing approach, there are no plans to initiate a public inquiry into Russian interference.

Interference in democratic processes is an international issue, affecting not only the UK. That is why the UK Government will continue to call out and respond to malign activity, including any attempts to interfere in our democratic processes, alongside our international partners including the Five Eyes countries and NATO.

Protecting and promoting a flourishing democracy is a cross-cutting challenge and requires coordinated action. That is why the Government is bringing forward a package of legislation that delivers ambitious reform. Our National Security legislative proposals will give the intelligence agencies and law enforcement the tools they need to tackle the diversifying and evolving threats we face. Our Online Safety Bill proposes a range of measures that will help protect democratic discourse, such as forcing companies to tackle illegal misinformation and disinformation, and by tackling online abuse. Our Elections Bill contains a range of reforms, including strengthening rules on ineligible foreign campaign spending. All of this legislative work is supported by the cross-government Defending Democracy programme, which brings together expertise and capabilities from across Government departments, the Security and Intelligence Agencies and civil society to ensure UK democracy remains open, vibrant and secure.

Cabinet Office

Foreign lobbying in the UK debated by MPs

On Wednesday 25 May, MPs took part in a Westminster Hall debate on foreign lobbying in the UK. The debate was led by Bob Seely MP, and Cabinet Office Minister Heather Wheeler MP responded for the Government.

During the debate, MPs discussed measures to address concerns about covert attempts to influence democracy in the UK, including those set out in the Intelligence and Security Committee report on Russia.

Watch the debate: https://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/59357e6c-b55e-465b-b867-a200aba2ab60?in=09:29:58

Read the transcript of everything that was said in the debate: https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2022-05-25/debates/43ACFEE4-4FE9-48B6-A94A-C607BDD95F0D/ForeignLobbying

What is a Westminster Hall debate?

Westminster Hall is the second chamber of the House of Commons. Westminster Hall debates give MPs an opportunity to raise local and national issues and receive a response from a government minister. Westminster Hall debates are general debates that do not end in a vote.

Find out more about Westminster Hall debates: https://www.parliament.uk/about/how/business/debates/westminster-hall-debates/

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