“There’s absolutely no evidence that I’ve ever seen of any Russian interference in UK democratic processes”
That was Boris Johnson’s claim today in response to a question from a member of the public about why his government have delayed publication of a parliamentary report into Russian interference in the 2016 referendum.
He repeated the claim just seconds later. You can watch the full clip here.
But in December 2017, Mr Johnson revealed that he had in fact seen evidence of Russian interference in UK democratic processes.
At a joint press conference, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said: “The person sitting next to me, Boris Johnson, said recently that he had no evidence that Russia meddled in the referendum over Britain’s exit from the European Union.”
Mr Johnson was keen to correct him: “‘Not successfully’, is the word that I think you need to introduce.”
Mr Johnson went on to say: “I think it’s very important that you should recognise that Russian attempts to interfere in our elections, our referendum, whatever they may have been, have not been successful […] because I think had it been successful, that would be an entirely different matter.”
Mr Johnson has found himself today using a form of words that he felt compelled to correct when the Russian Foreign Minister used it just two years ago.