Seely tells OnTheWight ‘certainly no proof’ of Russian election interference, but has ideas for the future

Former Isle of Wight MP, Bob Seely, said there is “certainly no proof” of political interference by Russia, but has ideas of how to stop it happening in the future

bob seely in parliament

This week the Prime Minister Boris Johnson was accused of a cover-up after refusing to release a report into Russian political interference before the General Election.

Bob Seely, who until Parliament was dissolved today (Wednesday) had been Conservative MP for the Isle of Wight, often blogged, spoke on social media and in the House on Russian issues.

Seely: “There is certainly no proof”
OnTheWight asked Bob whether he’d had any involvement in the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) report on Russian interference in UK democracy. He replied,

“No. I am not on the committee.”

Given his extensive knowledge on Russia, we asked whether he thought it was likely that Russia had interfered in UK elections and if so, what steps could be taken to reduce or stop it.

He replied,

“I don’t think it has done so successfully – there is certainly no proof. “

The Foreign Agents Act
He suggested that in order to reduce or stop future interference a Foreign Agents Act could be brought in,

“So that the acting on behalf of foreign governments – or are believed to be doing so – need to declare their activities.”

Should report be released?
Those following the subject may have heard Lord Evans of Weardale (who led MI5 until 2013) telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:

“In principle, I think it should be released … If the Government have a reason why this should not be published before the election, then I think they should make it very clear what that reason is.”

Seely: “Generally better publishing”
OnTheWight asked Bob whether he agreed or disagreed with Lord Evan. He replied,

“In these issues, the Government is generally better publishing, not least because it will knock on the head some of the dafter conspiracy theories.”

Seely: Would welcome debate on interference
In the House of Commons on Tuesday, Bob said,

“I would certainly welcome a debate on covert and malign foreign interference —not only any attempts on our side but why Seumas Milne always seems to peddle the Kremlin’s line and the links between senior people around the leader of the Labour party and pro-Russian groups in Ukraine and elsewhere. There would be a lot of interesting debate there.

“My question to the Minister is a broader one. Does he agree that the best way to minimise the chances of malign and covert interference in our electoral system is through the introduction of a foreign agents registration Act?

“The US introduced one against covert Nazi influence in 1938 and the Australians produced a foreign influence transparency scheme just last year. I will be working with the Henry Jackson Society to produce a potential template Bill.

“Would the Minister be interested in discussing it with me should we both be re-elected in December?”

The extent of Bob’s research on Russian warfare can be found on the Academia Website.

He also pointed readers to an article of his published in the Sunday Times article on the subject a few months ago.

Wednesday, 6th November, 2019 5:44pm

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Filed under: Election, Government, Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Politics, Top story

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8 Comments on "Seely tells OnTheWight ‘certainly no proof’ of Russian election interference, but has ideas for the future"

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Billy Builder

Some would say Tory spin, others might say Tory lies, but if there is nothing to hide why hide it. Johnson won’t publish because to do so would be damaging to the Tory election campaign, and damaging to Leave credibility.

Billy Builder

Yet more important information not being released :-

Cabinet office blocks publication of OBR economic forecast

This data is supported to be produced twice each year, but no data has been produced this year, with the latest forecast being withheld.

Again the Boris doesn’t want to highlight what a complete and utter boll0cks thee Tories have made of the economy by chasing BREXIT unicorns.

Mark L Francis

So Bob says he doesn’t know anything about what is going on because nobody has told him and therefore nothing has happened.
Do you think yhe Tory Party are taking you for a fool?

Rupert Besley
It is in Russia’s interest to have both the UK and the EU weak and divided. Why would they not use the powers available to them to further such interests? No one yet has disproved the evidence of Russian interference in other elections elsewhere in the world, so, why not here too? Equally clear, it is in the interests of the Conservative Party (having made the narrowly… Read more »
henry

Well we’ve had ‘tigger’, now we’ve got an MP who on Twitter enjoys using the word ‘tosser’, so I’m sure Bob in Parliamentary circles is seen as a bit of a fool, along with many of his constituents.

Not good for the island.

Colin

Of course there is Russian interference. Likewise, American and Chinese and any other country that seeks an advantage. Whether it is through investing in infrastucture and companies or chanelling money to individuals for their own gain, it goes on all the time. This is a global world, the UK being just one small part. One only has to look back through history to realise this.

Alternative Perspective

…and this of course is precisely the problem we face as a country, once the withdrawal bill is finalised, and we’ve handed over £39bn, Brexit isn’t over, it is just starting! The Trade negotiations won’t be a walk in the park, The U.K. will be used as an example less other EU countries ever dream of leaving!

Benny C

There’s certainly no proof Bob Seeley is an effective MP. We have ideas for the future which might well remove him!