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Legal action over Russian interference

Legal action over Russian interference

Is the British government denying us of our legal right to a free and fair election? We intend to find out. 

This legal challenge is a last resort. Boris Johnson’s government is refusing to take the unequivocal recommendations of parliament’s own Intelligence and Security Committee that it says are essential to protect our national security. It is refusing to even answer questions on the matter. 

Why, after blocking publication of the ISC’s report into Russian interference for more than nine months, is it now refusing to investigate evidence of Russian interference? Why is it refusing to close the legal loopholes that allow it? And why is it ignoring the testimony of experts who say our democracy is in grave danger? 

The legal challenge 

We are initiating legal action against Boris Johnson’s government for failure to investigate foriegn state interference in the UK’s democractic process. 

The Citizens has joined forces with a cross-party group of MPs and peers to send a pre-action letter asking the government why it has refused to investigate Russian interference in our elections even though its own Intelligence and Security Committee insists is essential for our national security. 

Alongside Chris Bryant (Labour), Lord Strasburger (Lib Dem), Alyn Smith (SNP), Caroline Lucas (Green) and Ben Bradshaw (Labour) & Baroness Wheatcroft (ex-Conservative) we have written to the government asking a set of questions. The government now has two weeks to respond. If it fails to give us a full and open response to these inquiries, we plan to take legal action and seek a judicial review. 

Under article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights we have the Right to a Free Election. This is an absolute right. And we believe that we are being denied this by the government’s failure to: 

  1. investigate foreign state interference in the UK’s democratic process; and/or 
  2. have a legal framework which provides the conditions to ensure the free expression of the people in the choice of the legislature. 

“The outrage isn’t that there was interference. The outrage is that no one wanted to know if there was interference”.

Kevan Jones MP member of the UK Intelligence and Security Committee

Without an effective investigation into hostile state interference with the UK’s democratic processes (including in the EU referendum), there is an unacceptable risk that it will happen again. 

Our legal team 

We are working with Tessa Gregory and Tom Short of Leigh Day solicitors and our counsel team consists of Ben Jaffey, QC, of Blackstone Chambers, Richard Hermer, of Matrix Chambers, and Natasha Simonsen of Blackstone Chambers. 

Next steps 

Over the coming months we will continue to investigate, report and produce content that explains the facts – looking behind the smoke and mirrors. We will pursue justice for our democracy through the courts. 

We hope you will join us and support this case. It is essential that keep the pressure on the government. We need to protect our future elections. We need the truth. 

Claimant: The Citizens with a cross-party group of MPs

Get Ready for Action

In the space of just one election cycle, authoritarian governments, wealthy elites and fringe hackers figured out how to game elections, bypass democratic processes and turn social networks into battlefields.
Let's fight back and hold them to account.
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