A CROSS-PARTY group of parliamentarians – which includes the SNP’s Alyn Smith – has launched legal action against the UK Government over claims of Russian interference in the independence and Brexit referendums, and in the 2017 general election.

The action follows the publication earlier this year of a long-awaited report into alleged interference in British politics by Moscow.

The 50-page Russia Report by Westminster’s influential Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) was intended for publication before the Commons was dissolved ahead of the December election. But Boris Johnson refused to release it then, prompting claims it was being suppressed for fear of damaging Tory campaign prospects.

When the dossier was finally published in July, it found that successive UK Governments had embraced Russian oligarchs and then looked the other way on alleged election interference.

The document was based on material from British spy agencies and concluded it was impossible to assess any Russian actions in the 2014 independence vote, the 2016 EU referendum or the 2017 general election because the British Government — under the Conservative Party leadership of David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson — did not conduct serious assessments.

“The report reveals that no-one in government knew if Russia interfered in or sought to influence the [Brexit] referendum because they did not want to know,” Stewart Hosie, a member of the intelligence committee, said in July.

“The British Government actively avoided looking for evidence that Russia interfered,” he said. The report called Moscow’s influence in the UK “the new normal”.

Now Smith and the other members of the cross-party group have filed legal proceedings against the UK Government for failing to protect UK citizens’ “right to free and fair elections”.

It is believed to be first time MPs and peers have taken legal action against the Government over an alleged national security failure.

Their case is being supported by the former chair of Joint Intelligence Committee and the first national security adviser to UK Government, Lord Peter Ricketts.

Ricketts’s evidence states a “full retrospective” investigation is required because of the “failure” by ministers to “give political direction” to intelligence services.

The group is seeking a judicial review under Article 3 of Protocol 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects each citizen’s right to free and fair elections, and the Inquiries Act 2005. Court documents claim failure to investigate past interference into democratic processes puts future elections at threat.

Five other parliamentarians are named on the claim – Lord Strasburger, Ben Bradshaw MP, Chris Bryant MP, Caroline Lucas MP, and Baroness Wheatcroft – which has been lodged in conjunction with a non-profit organisation, the Citizens.

The Kremlin has denied Russian interference in the election of any other country.

A UK Government spokesperson said: “We don’t comment on ongoing legal proceedings.”