Stanley Johnson – you know, the father of prime minister Boris Johnson – once said that he believes it’s “perfectly obvious” there was Russian interference in the 2016 EU referendum.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain in 2018, when the PM was foreign secretary, his father said:
It’s perfectly obvious the Russians were pretty heavily involved in the American election [as] more and more comes out to that effect.
And it’s perfectly obvious, to me at least, that there’s far more in the Brexit vote that has so far come out.
When asked to clarify if he meant in terms of Russian involvement in the EU referendum, Stanley Johnson replied:
Yes, absolutely. Getting the Facebook stuff, the data which went into Facebook, all the tweets and, above all, some mega event like the massive migration crisis…
In light of this admission, he was then asked if the Brexit referendum was a fair fight, to which he replied:
I think if it was proved conclusively that everything I said happened… happened, then you might say – someone might say well ‘Was this a fair fight?’ Let’s not have a second referendum, let’s have a re-run of the first.
And people on social media had a lot of thoughts:
The resurfaced clip follows the release of the long-anticipated Russia Report on Tuesday that confirmed Russia has the UK as one of its “top targets” in the West.
It also called for “immediate action” to tackle the “threat” of Russia.
Remarkably, SNP MP Stewart Hosie – who serves on the Intelligence and Security Commission – said:
The report reveals that no one in government knew if Russia interfered in or sought to influence the referendum, because they did not want to know.
The UK government [has] actively avoided looking for evidence that Russia interfered.
During PMQs on Wednesday, Johnson refuted the link between interferance and the Brexit vote.
He said he will not bow down to “pressure from Islingtonian Remainers who have seized on this report to try to give the impression that Russian interference was somehow responsible for Brexit”.
This isn't the first time Johnson has disagreed with his family on political matters.
Johnson's dad and sister, Rachel Johnson, are very pro-EU. In fact, Rachel even stood for the now-disbanded Change UK in 2019's EU Parliament elections. His brother Joe Johnson also resigned from his cabinet and parliament in part because of political differences. But what's family without some healthy disagreement? Dinner parties must be very interesting at the Johnson household indeed...
Other politicians to famously differ from their families on politics are Kezia Dugdale, the former Scottish Labour leader whose dad vocally supports the SNP on Twitter, and whose partner Jenny Gilruth serves in Nicola Sturgeon's Scottish cabinet for the SNP.
When it comes to the fallout from the Russia Report, Labour Leader Keir Starmer had no trouble pointing the finger of blame at Johnson...
Wednesday marked the last PMQs before parliament breaks for a summer recess but it did not go according to plan for the PM. Johnson got schooled by Starmer after trying to make a joke about flip flops on Bournemouth Beach and was repeatedly pressed on his reaction to the report.