There is “no evidence or reasonable grounds for suspicion” to believe Russia or any other another foreign power interfered in the “operational delivery” of Britain’s referendum on European Union (EU) membership, according to a leaked Cabinet Office letter.
Business Insider reports that Cabinet Office minister Ben Gummer wrote he was “confident that there is a negligible risk of a foreign government or agency being able to influence the operational delivery of electoral events in the UK,” in a letter to Labour Party representative Ben Bradshaw.
“[T]here is no evidence or reasonable grounds for suspicion concerning foreign interference in UK elections or the EU referendum,” he said.
Bradshaw claimed that the Russians “probably” swayed the result of the Brexit referendum in the House of Commons in December 2016.
“We don’t have the evidence for that yet,” he confessed, “but I think it’s highly probable,”
Bradshaw was widely mocked on social media for this conspiracy theory, with Twitter users questioning how “the Russians” might have gone about hacking the United Kingdom’s pencil- and paper-based voting system.
— Sam Gould (@GouldSam) December 14, 2016
Bradshaw has also claimed that Russia will “certainly” be involved in France’s upcoming presidential elections and cited “serious concerns in the German secret service that Russia is already interfering in the elections” there.
The Labour MP levelled his allegations at the same time as the European Council on Foreign Relations claimed Russia might stage migrant sex attacks in Germany, in order to damage Chancellor Angela Merkel’s electoral prospects.
“What would happen, for example, if a similar event were repeated at a summer festival before the election as in the Silvesternacht in Cologne?” asked Gustav Gressel suggestively.
“How would Merkel stand then? What would be the consequence for the Bundestag election? Of course, this is an extreme example, but it is within the range of possibility.”