Leaked Russian report linked to UK vote

British PM Boris Johnson has been urged to release a report on Russian interference on Brexit.
British PM Boris Johnson has been urged to release a report on Russian interference on Brexit.

Questions about the British government's failure to release a report on Russia's interference in the country's politics continues to dog Prime Minister Boris Johnson, with critics saying leaks from the document raise concerns about the security of next month's election.

The report from Parliament's intelligence committee concludes that Russian interference may have affected the 2016 referendum on Britain's departure from the European Union.

However, the impact is "unquantifiable," the Times of London reported on Sunday, without saying how it got the information.

The committee said British intelligence services failed to devote enough resources to counter the threat and highlighted the impact of articles posted by Russian news sites that were widely disseminated on social media, the newspaper reported.

Emily Thornberry, the opposition Labour Party's foreign affairs spokeswoman, said the leaks raise questions that deserve answers.

"Boris Johnson therefore needs to clear up the confusion, spin and speculation around this (intelligence committee) report by publishing it in full at the earliest opportunity," she told the Times.

"If not, people will rightly continue to ask: what is he trying to hide from the British public and why?"

Johnson's government has said it needs more time to review the security implications of the report, but it will be released after the election.

Critics have alleged the report is being withheld because it shows Russians have made large donations to the Conservative Party, which is seeking to win a majority that would allow Johnson to push his Brexit deal through Parliament.

Security Minister Brandon Lewis dismissed such criticism and in turn accused Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn of failing to back the government in the aftermath of a Russian-sponsored nerve agent attack against a former spy on the streets of an English city.

Former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the 2016 US presidential election found that Russia interfered in the vote in a "sweeping and systemic" fashion.

While President Donald Trump dismissed the findings, the US investigation put Russia at the centre of worries about the integrity of elections worldwide.

The House of Commons Intelligence and Security Committee began its investigation following allegations of Russian interference in both the 2016 US election and the Brexit referendum earlier that year.

Australian Associated Press