A trail of emails shows the ‘bad boys of Brexit’ had closer links to Russia and its ambassador than they have disclosed

On 11 March 2016, three months before the European referendum, and long before anyone had started to wonder about foreign interference in the two political cataclysms of 2016 – Brexit and Trump – the Russian embassy in London put out a press release.

Philip Hammond, the foreign secretary, had made a speech at Chatham House a few days earlier. A speech in which he noted that “the only country who would like us to leave the EU is Russia”. And the embassy had taken exception.

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