Russia Report raises Brexit vote questions, say Cornish Campaigners

Cornwall for Europe, the pro EU campaign group, have hit out at the way elections may have been influenced by Russia – including the 2016 Referendum on Brexit.

Their Press Officer, Charles Boney, said:

‘We always knew about the lies – such as the weekly cost of EU membership being freed up for the NHS, the immigrants likely to flood in from Turkey – but what we did not know was the way Russians were trying to influence the vote as well. The frightening aspect of the Report is that it is clear that the Government did not want our security services to find the evidence’

Howard Farmer, who helps run local campaigning in Cornwall said:

‘We have reached a very sad place as a country. We can’t fully trust our election results or our politicians and we may have accidentally made a decision which will reduce our prosperity and national standing for generations to come. In Cornwall, we will continue to stand by our values and try to be as close as possible to our European neighbours.’

Tom Scott, Cornwall for Europe Social media officer, has researched and written about Russia interference in elections in recent years. He has prepared a detailed comment on the Report for publication on the CFE facebook page:-

The Russia Report, despite being full of redactions and naming very few names, is a truly explosive document.

Shockingly, it reveals that the intelligence & security agencies have been asleep at the wheel – they did little or nothing to prevent Putin interfering in the Brexit referendum and have done no retrospective analysis of this, despite an abundance of open-source evidence showing that he did.

It also pulls no punches about the extent to which Russian money from sources close to Putin has permeated the British business and political class. As it points out, this means that what the UK is looking at here is not just an external threat, but “a threat from Russia within its own borders”.

The stench of corruption around Boris Johnson’s government should alert us to what Putin and the oligarchs around him have been doing. Essentially, the picture painted by the Russia Report is of the amalgamation of international kleptocracies, effected by means of large infusions of Russian money into the heart of the British establishment.

Some of the redactions are as significant as the main text. This one, in a footnote on Arron Banks, for instance: “We note that Arron Banks became the biggest donor in British political history when he gave £8m to the Leave.EU campaign. In October 2018, the Electoral Commission – which had been investigating the source of this donation – referred the case to the National Crime Agency, which investigated it [REDACTION]. In September 2019, the National Crime Agency announced that it had concluded the investigation, having found no evidence that any criminal offences had been committed under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act.”

This should be read in the light of an earlier passage in the report, which notes that the National Crime Agency is insufficiently resourced to investigate the true origins of “unexplained wealth”: “the reality is that it is highly probable that the oligarchy will have the financial means to ensure their lawyers – a key group of professional enablers – find ways to circumvent this legislation […] By contrast, the NCA lacks the resources required in terms of financial investigators, technical experts and legal expertise – this must be rectified.”

Downing Street sources will no doubt attempt to make out that this report contains no “smoking gun”. In fact, the report shows a country choking under a cloud of gunsmoke, and a deeply compromised political establishment that has done next to nothing to protect the integrity of our democracy from corruption by a mafia state.

Some of the redactions are as significant as the main text. This one, in a footnote on Arron Banks, for instance: “We note that Arron Banks became the biggest donor in British political history when he gave £8m to the Leave.EU campaign. In October 2018, the Electoral Commission – which had been investigating the source of this donation – referred the case to the National Crime Agency, which investigated it [REDACTION]. In September 2019, the National Crime Agency announced that it had concluded the investigation, having found no evidence that any criminal offences had been committed under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act.”

This should be read in the light of an earlier passage in the report, which notes that the National Crime Agency is insufficiently resourced to investigate the true origins of “unexplained wealth”: “the reality is that it is highly probable that the oligarchy will have the financial means to ensure their lawyers – a key group of professional enablers – find ways to circumvent this legislation […] By contrast, the NCA lacks the resources required in terms of financial investigators, technical experts and legal expertise – this must be rectified.”

Downing Street sources will no doubt attempt to make out that this report contains no “smoking gun”. In fact, the report shows a country choking under a cloud of gunsmoke, and a deeply compromised political establishment that has done next to nothing to protect the integrity of our democracy from corruption by a mafia state.

One hundred street stalls

Cornwall for Europe, the grass roots campaign to remain in the EU, are increasing their campaigning in the run up to vital votes in the Commons next week.

‘We expect Cornish MPs to vote to avoid a no deal exit at the end of March which would be a disaster for the Cornish economy’ says their Chair, Emmanuelle Brook.

‘Agriculture would face immediate high tariffs on exports and fish would face delays risking freshness and quality. We are pleased that Sarah Newton, Truro MP, has seen sense and told a recent Chamber meeting she would refuse to back a no deal Brexit. We call on the other Cornish MPs to follow her lead.’

In recent months they have been running street stalls all over Cornwall and will be celebrated their 100th stall in Penzance on Wednesday 6th March (from 10.30.Market Jew Street near Lloyds)

Their Brexitometer surveys ask people to tell them their views on Brexit.

Howard Farmer, stalls organiser, says ‘The vast majority tell us they believe they will be worse off under Brexit. And a big majority want Brexit delayed. They believe Parliament has failed and the People should have the chance to have their say again’.

One of the Cornwall for Europe street stall teams in Looe earlier this year

Hundreds of people are now planning to get to London for a huge rally on 23rd March. ‘ Last October we sent a coach to London to join the 700,000 others marching for a People’s Vote. This month we have already booked three coaches with many others finding their own transport.’ says Sue Winter who is helping plan the coaches and runs many of the stalls.. ‘We believe Cornwall will send three times the number protesters because we think that Cornwall has changed her mind on Brexit. The march will be massive.’

Cornwall for Europe now has a huge social media presence. Tom Scott, who runs its facebook and twitter pages says ‘We now have more Cornish followers than any political party or MP. Our membership grows daily and we have become a real force. We will remain a cross party organisation focused entirely Britain playing a positive role in Europe.We urge all our supporters to make contact with the 5 Cornish MPs who have not yet declared clearly how their will vote next week.’