28/09/2020

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Russia ‘tried to meddle in Scottish vote’

The PM, playing with toys at a school yesterday, will come under pressure to take...
The PM, playing with toys at a school yesterday, will come under pressure to take a tougher line - Jeremy Selwyn/Reuters
The PM, playing with toys at a school yesterday, will come under pressure to take a tougher line – Jeremy Selwyn/Reuters

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Kremlin ‘tried to meddle in independence vote’

It has been a long time coming. The “Russia report” into Moscow’s alleged meddling in British politics will be published today by the Intelligence and Security Committee after months of delays. The Telegraph has exclusively learnt that it will disclose Russia tried to “influence” the result of the Scottish independence referendum – but not the Brexit vote. It will describe the Kremlin’s attempt to divide the United Kingdom in 2014 as “the first post-Soviet interference in a Western democratic election”. But the report concludes that there is no direct evidence of Russian influence in the 2016 Brexit referendum. Political Editor Gordon Rayner has our full report. The document – based on secret material from Britain’s intelligence agencies – is due to be released at 10.30am. Follow the latest updates and analysis.

The findings of the 50-page report, which followed an 18-month parliamentary inquiry, will pile pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to take a tougher line with Russian president Vladimir Putin. Last week, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said “Russian actors” tried to influence December’s general election by circulating a leaked report on US-UK trade talks that was seized upon by Jeremy Corbyn. Matt takes a lighter look at the Russia saga for today’s cartoon.

Hopes Covid-19 vaccine could be ready for Christmas

A Covid-19 vaccine could still be ready by the end of the year if scientists can get 50,000 people in trials in the next six weeks, experts have said. Oxford University published the first human trial results yesterday, showing that its vaccine against coronavirus is safe and produces an immune response. Initially, it had been hoped that vaccinations might be ready by September. But the number of Covid-19 cases plummeted in Britain after lockdown, meaning the chance of getting infected dropped substantially and making it difficult to test a vaccine. Researchers were forced to move trials to South Africa and Brazil. Science Editor Sarah Knapton explains how the “important milestone” results kept alive the hope of a vaccine being rolled out before Christmas.

Palace aides ‘thought Newsnight interview went well’

It was widely described as both disastrous and a “car crash”. But it has been claimed that the Duke of York’s aides were “pleased” with his Newsnight interview – until they saw the public’s reaction. Emily Maitlis, who interviewed the Duke about his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, said the Palace was shocked not at the interview itself, but how it played out later. Royal Correspondent Hannah Furness looks at Prince Andrew’s most memorable answers, including details of his Pizza Express visit.

At a glance: More coronavirus headlines

Also in the news: Today’s other headlines

UK-China row | Boris Johnson said he does not want to become a “knee-jerk Sinophobe” after Britain suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and imposed an arms embargo on the former colony. These are the four concerns over China that led the UK to take the action.  

Around the world: Virus ‘taken’ to indigenous people

Data suggests the rapid spread of Covid-19 around Brazil’s indigenous communities may be driven by government health workers deployed to help contain it. Read our dispatch from Euan Marshall in São Paulo and view a gallery of more striking pictures of the day.

Indigenous Sesai nurses perform a Covid-19 test in the Arapium community - TARSO SARRAF /AFP
Indigenous Sesai nurses perform a Covid-19 test in the Arapium community – TARSO SARRAF /AFP

Comment and analysis

Editor’s choice: Features and arts

  1. Fergie and friends | How the Duchess of York reinvented herself to win over new fans

  2. Tribal, twee and cavorting in swamps | How the rest of the world views Britain

  3. Multigenerational living is on the rise Here is how to get the balance right

Business and money briefing

Oil prices | While the oil shocks of April now seem a distant memory, there is mounting evidence that a second wave of Covid-19 could send prices spinning into a nosedive once more – upending markets reliant on energy such as the Middle East and the US. In this analysisEd Clowes explains why the global crude market remains extremely fragile.  

Sport briefing

Stoking the fires | Joe Root hailed Ben Stokes as “Mr Incredible”, declaring that England were “in the presence of greatness” after Stokes inspired a 113-run victory against West Indies in the second Test at Emirates Old Trafford. Chief Cricket Correspondent Nick Hoult reports on a remarkable all-round performance and read our player ratings.  

And finally… for this morning’s downtime

The stink of academic hypocrisy | Steven Pinker, the self-styled warrior against “cancel culture”, is not as intellectually infallible as he thinks. Tim Smith-Laing explains why he usurps the very humanist values he claims to hold.