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Government inaction leaves UK politics open to foreign interference

July 25, 2020 9:50 AM
By Bryan Lewis

The release of the Intelligence and Security Committee's Russia Report shows that electoral law loopholes are leaving the door wide open to foreign interference

Darren Hughes, of the Electoral Reform Society, told the BBC that we may have only seen the 'tip of the iceberg' when it comes to potential foreign interference in our elections, since our electoral laws haven't been updated in 20 years. That was long before the rise of social media and widespread online political donations..

Some of the loopholes mean that donors based in foreign tax havens can contribute vast amounts of money by devious routes to influence our political parties. Unscrupulous individuals and foreign actors to pay for anonymous 'dark' ads on line or pump out disinformation during election periods to sway the result.

A House of Lords committee recently condemned the lack of government action in updating electoral law. It pointed out that foreign states such as Russia use 'information warfare' to sow discord. The Committee also heard that the criteria for 'success' for states like Russia were very low - they simply have to add a little instability at a time when a country is vulnerable.

That it takes the unelected House of Lords to expose the Government's failure is galling. The losers of this inaction are the voters and our democracy.