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Parliament’s security committee wants to investigate “Russian activity against the UK”

Parliament’s intelligence and security committee is looking to investigate Russian interference in British politics, the committee’s chair – Dominic Grieve – has announced.

In a statement issued yesterday, the Conservative MP said: “Whilst any necessary Inquiry into this year’s attacks must take priority, we will also be considering issues around Russian activity against the UK which require investigation, and will separately be considering the operation of the UK’s central intelligence machinery.”

The committee was reestablished yesterday after what Grieve described as “an exceptionally long” period of inactivity following June’s general election.

“It has taken an exceptionally long time after the General Election for the ISC to be reconstituted – the effective and robust oversight of the intelligence community, entrusted to us, is too important to have been left in a vacuum for so many months,” he said. “We will therefore also be considering steps to strengthen the ability of the Committee to do its work.”

Digital minister Matt Hancock has urged Facebook and Twitter to hand over any evidence of Russian meddling in Brexit.

Speaking in a cyber security debate in the House of Commons, Hancock said the government should be given the opportunity to scrutinise the material.

“This is an incredibly important issue and the [digital, culture, media and sport] select committee is taking a lead to ensure that evidence is brought to light,” he said.

“We will of course investigate all the evidence we see and take action where appropriate.”

Facebook’s EMEA chief Nicola Mendelsohn told Sky News earlier this week that the firm had seen no evidence that Russia had used the platform to interfere in the Brexit referendum.

But the social network’s press officers appeared to contradict that message in a statement to BuzzFeed on Tuesday.

“To date, we have not observed that the known, coordinated clusters in Russia engaged in significant coordination of ad buys or political misinformation targeting the Brexit vote,” a spokesperson said.