Labour demand investigation into Russian interference in the EU referendum

Labour demand investigation into Russian interference in the EU referendum

Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Labour Party has demanded a US-style investigation involving the security services should examine Russian interference in the 2016 EU referendum.

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson has demanded a “Mueller-style investigation” similar to the FBI investigation into Russian links to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Questioning Digital Minister Margot James, Mr Watson said it was clear Facebook “broke the law and allowed illegal data breaches during the EU referendum".

The Shadow Culture Secretary said: "Isn't it now the time, in the public interest and in the national interest, to have a Mueller-style inquiry into the conduct of the EU referendum, that also examines the role played by the Russian state?"

 

‘The law needs to be updated’

Special counsel Robert Mueller is leading an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and if there were any ties to the Trump campaign.

Ms James responded: "There's no doubt that the law as it stands has been updated.

"The Information Commissioner's Office has much increased powers and will be encouraged to use them.

"There's no doubt these serious matters concerning the European referendum will be investigated but it's really not a matter for my department."

Mr Watson later asked if Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright believed the "duopoly" of Facebook and Google is "healthy for journalism and local democracy in the UK".

He said: "300 newspapers have closed in the last decade and there are 6,000 fewer local journalists since 2007 - hardly surprisingly when two companies, Facebook and Google, control nearly 60% of global online advertising revenues."

Mr Wright said the problem set out by his opposite number was "one of the most serious that we face, certainly within this department and arguably beyond".

"He will understand that what I want to do is understand this issue properly before I start to set out any decisions at all."