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UK to give security services more powers to stop foreign interference: The Times

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson attends a face-to-face meeting of his cabinet team of ministers, the first since mid-March because of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London, Britain, July 21, 2020. REUTERS/Simon Dawson/Pool

(Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is planning to give security services more powers to stop foreign interference in Britain, The Times newspaper reported.

The government is preparing to push ahead with a new counter-espionage legislation, the newspaper reported, adding that the new laws could introduce a “register of foreign agents” modelled on the approach in the United States and Australia.

Failure to comply will result in imprisonment or deportation, according to the report.

The Times article comes as the British government failed to find out whether Russia meddled in the 2016 referendum on membership of the European Union, according to a parliamentary report released on Tuesday.

The long-anticipated report by the British parliament’s intelligence and security committee found that Russia had tried to influence a separate referendum in 2014 when voters in Scotland rejected independence.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Marguerita Choy