CONCERN is growing over allegations of electoral interference by Russia ahead of the upcoming UK general election, in the wake of the 2016 US election where Russia was found to have played a key role in supporting Donald Trump.

Why are there concerns now?

A report by the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), looking into covert actions against the UK - which includes allegations of past election interference - was referred to the Prime Minister’s office on October 17, but has not yet been cleared for publication.

It has links to Trump?

The report includes evidence from former MI6 agent, Christopher Steele, who also wrote the Trump dossier suggesting Trump had ties to Russia. The US President has tweeted frequently about Steele, accusing him of spreading “fake news” and branding him a “failed spy”.

What is this report said to contain?

It is a confidential memo said to advise how to counter meddling by the Kremlin after the committee heard evidence from UK intelligence bodies, such as MI5 and MI6, about attempts by Russia to interfere in the EU referendum in 2016 and in the 2017 general election.

On the same scale as the US interference?

It is not thought to be on the same level as that. A new Senate Intelligence Committee Report in the United States found there was a Kremlin effort to spread disinformation, aid Trump’s campaign and undermine Hillary Clinton.

It states that “masquerading as Americans, these operatives used targeted advertisements, intentionally falsified news articles, self-generated contents, and social media platform tools to interact with and attempt to deceive tens of millions of social media users in the United States.”

Toward what end?

The report said it was a concentrated effort to “polarise Americans on the basis of societal, ideological, and racial differences” and was part of “a foreign government's covert support of Russia's favoured candidate in the US presidential election”.

Suggestions of Russian interference are not new?

Former prime minister Theresa May warned in November 2017 that Russia was sowing discord by “weaponising information” in Britain.

What about Scottish politics?

In November 2017 it emerged that around 400,000 Twitter messages relating to Scottish independence were posted by fake accounts, thought to be Russian. The 'Twitter bots' posted independence messages over an 18-month period.

What’s happening with Dominic Cummings?

It was reported yesterday that the prime minister’s most senior adviser is facing questions over his past activities in Russia. A whistleblower has raised “serious concerns” about the time Cummings spent in Russia after graduating from university in the 1990s.

What now?

Former attorney general, and ISC chair Dominic Grieve, has said of his committee’s report that it is “unacceptable" for the Prime Minister to “sit on it”.

Downing Street has not ruled out releasing it before Parliament dissolves tomorrow.

Mr Grieve added that “this report is germane because we do know and I think it is widely accepted that the Russians have sought to interfere in other countries' democratic processes in the past."