Britain warns of Russian interference in general election

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Britain’s deputy prime minister warned Sunday that the country’s upcoming general election faces threats from hostile actors such as Russia seeking to influence the UK’s democratic process.

The country will go to the polls on Thursday, in an election expected to oust the governing right-wing Conservatives and put the opposition Labour party in power.

His comments came after the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that it had uncovered five Facebook pages spreading the same pro-Kremlin talking points.

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Some of them encouraged support for the hard-right Reform UK party led by Brexiteer Nigel Farage – a big challenger to the ruling Conservatives in Thursday’s vote.

“There is a threat in all elections, and indeed we see it in this election from hostile state actors seeking to influence the outcome of the election campaign,” Oliver Dowden told Sky News.

“Russia is a prime example of this, and this is a classic example from the Russian playbook,” he added, noting however that the examples were “relatively typical, low-level stuff.”

Farage – an admirer of former US president Donald Trump – dismissed claims that Russian bots might interfere in the election as “cobblers,” using a British slang term for nonsense.

He has been criticized in the campaign for saying that the West provoked Russia’s invasion of its neighbor Ukraine.

His anti-immigration party is tipped by pollsters to contribute to a landslide win by the center left opposition Labour party by taking votes away from Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Tories.

Labour has enjoyed poll leads of more than 20 points throughout the campaign, but Sunak insisted on Sunday that he will still be Prime Minister come Friday morning.

“I’m fighting very hard and I think people are waking up to the real danger of what a Labour government means,” he told the BBC.

Labour, led by Keir Starmer, received another boost Sunday when the influential right-of-center newspaper the Sunday Times endorsed his party. Music sensation Elton John also announced he was backing Labour.

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