Boris Johnson was left to field some difficult questions while on a campaign stop in Teesside this week.
The Prime Minister addressed workers at Wilton Engineering as he looked to regain Stockton South and sure-up the Conservative’s slender majority in Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland.
He was met with protesters outside the plant, who bemoaned transport and education cuts amongst other things.
But it was a worker who proffered up the stickiest question.
“Why are the government withholding the dossier on Russian interference into UK elections and referendums when it’s already been given the green light by secret services?”— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) November 20, 2019
Boris Johnson is challenged by a worker in Teesside while on a campaign stop. pic.twitter.com/KHDcChoFmt
“It’s already been given the green light by security services”
Addressing Johnson in front of cameras, he said:
“Why are the government withholding the dossier on Russian interference into UK elections and referendums when it’s already been given the green light by secret services?”
The Prime Minister responded that there is “absolutely no evidence that I’ve ever seen of any Russian interference in UK democratic processes”, a statement that quickly refuted by FactCheck.
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.”