There is “clear evidence” that Russia interfered directly in UK elections, a Labour former minister has said. Chris Bryant told Parliament some of the top-level decisions affecting security in Britain had also been “compromised by Russian infiltration”. The former Europe minister’s comments came after it emerged that political parties in the UK have approached the security agencies for help following a cyber attack during the 2015 British general election. “There is now clear evidence of Russian direct, corrupt involvement in elections in France, in Germany, in the United States of America, and I would argue also in this country,” said Mr Bryant. “Many believe that some of the highest level decisions affecting security in the United Kingdom, in Germany, in France and in the United States of America are now compromised by Russian infiltration.”
The head of the UK’s new National Cyber Security Centre, Ciaran Martin, said that “informal” talks had been held with the parties and a programme to protect their sensitive online information will be put in place in the near future.
Attempted cyber attacks in the run-up to the May 2015 elections, with a rise in clandestine online activity by Russia across the UK at the time, have been reported by security sources.
There had been persistent and rising reports of the Kremlin’s interference in the West’s political system using cyber attacks, including the hacking of the Democratic Party emails as part of an alleged campaign by Vladimir Putin’s government to help Donald Trump win the US presidential elections.