Nick Clegg: No Brexit Collusion

Even arch-Remainer Sir. Nick Clegg thinks talk of Russian collusion, during the 2016 Brexit referendum, is a conspiracy theory too far.

Patrick Sullivan, Political Editor
On 19 September 2019 12:27

Nick Clegg is no Brexiteer. As leader of the Liberal Democrats, he was one of the most unashamedly pro-EU figures in British politics. Now the man who was once our nation’s Deputy Prime Minister is living his post-political life, and it is certainly a far more lucrative one. As Facebook’s Vice President of Global Affairs and Communications, Sir. Nick is essentially the Tech Giant’s “super-lobbyist” in all but name.

Last week, he was in New Delhi, representing Facebook in India and during the visit was interviewed by Indian Express. One of the topics covered in the interview was the subject of Facebook’s possible influence over the result of the 2016 Brexit referendum and whether there was any Russian meddling. Sir. Nick confirmed that, when it came to the Brexit referendum, there was no collusion, telling Indian Express:

“I have seen it asserted, I don’t know how many times, that Brexit was influenced by the Russians or by Facebook or by Cambridge Analytica, for instance. All of these assertations are made completely blisfully ignorant of the facts

The first fact is that, we know from the British Information Commisioner’s office that the data from Cambridge Analytica – we don’t have it! People keep asking us to analyse the data because the watchdog has the data, we don’t – And they have said in terms, publicly, that there was no data from British voters involved. And they also said, by the way, that the data was in its raw form, which means it couldn’t have been used quite as subtly, as some people allege.”



Sir. Nick was also keen to emphasise that Facebook haad left no stone unturned, when it came to investigating whether their platform had been misused during the 2016 referendum saying:

“And we have, on two occasions, investigated using the methodology we used when real evidence of Russian interference emerged in the 2016 US Presidential election. We used exactly the same methodology we used when we were tipped off by the FBI the and applied it to the data we have, particularly of ads used during the Brexit referendum.

We can see no evidence of meterial significance of Russian interference through paid political advertising in the Brexit referendum. The problem is, however many times people like me say this; if you want to believe otherwise, people will.”

Sir Nick concluded his comments on the topic by warning the audience against making connections that just aren’t there, declaring:

“My point only is, not that there aren’t profound responsibilities for companies like Facebook. And profound mistakes were made, which need to be corrected and changed, not least over Facebook. I think it is important to keep things in some sense of perspective and not start making all sorts of connections between events or assertations, which aren’t sustained by the facts.”

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