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Met police failed to act on Commons ‘honeytrap’ sexting reports last year – Source: www.theguardian.com

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Source: www.theguardian.com – Author: Aletha Adu

The Metropolitan police first had reports of unsolicited messages targeting a number of MPs, staff and journalists in Westminster last year, but officers failed to notify politicians.

After the former Conservative MP William Wragg said he was manipulated into giving the personal phone numbers of colleagues to a man he met on a dating app, Scotland Yard said it was working with other police forces, alongside its own investigation, amid concerns many other MPs could have been targeted.

But it has since emerged that the Met launched an investigation last year after Commons security staff were informed about the alleged “honeytrap” scandal. However, the information reported to officers was more limited than what has since been revealed.

More than 12 people were believed to have been targeted in what is thought to have been a cyber-attack in which they were sent messages from an unknown sender identifying themselves either as “Abi” or “Charlie”. Politico reported that political figures had received the unsolicited messages with details of their careers and campaigns they had worked on.

The Parliamentary Security Department, responsible for the security of MPs, was informed of the police report as part of its liaison with the Met.

A Met spokesperson said: “The Met had previously received reports from two victims – the first in October with subsequent reports in November and March – about the unsolicited sending of explicit images to MPs.

“There was nothing to suggest that those incidents were part of a wider pattern of offending that would have necessitated any sort of warning to Parliamentarians and staff.

“The scale and coordinated nature of this matter became apparent following the receipt of a number of further allegations prompted by recent media reporting. Our investigation is considering all reports in a coordinated way and is ongoing.”

Conservative backbencher Dame Andrea Jenkyns said she had received messages that referred to a previous meeting at the party’s annual conference, which she had reported to the whips.

Luke Evans, another Tory MP, said he had reported similar messages to the police. Harry Yorke, a journalist at the Sunday Times, said he had received flirtatious messages from an unknown woman called Charlie.

Wragg has received support from senior Government figures after his claim. The chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, described his apology as “courageous and fulsome”, to the anger of a number of Tory MPs.

A number of Tory MPs have privately questioned why Downing Street is, in their view, “protecting” Wragg, the MP for Hazel Grove who is standing down at the next election. Jenkyns said on X: “It’s bizarre. I told them that he’s compromised MPs, for God’s sake. I’m a mother, and he shouldn’t be handing out anybody’s numbers.”

Original Post URL: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2024/apr/11/met-police-failed-to-act-on-commons-honeytrap-sexting-reports-last-year

Category & Tags: Metropolitan police,Conservatives,UK news,House of Commons,Data and computer security,Politics – Metropolitan police,Conservatives,UK news,House of Commons,Data and computer security,Politics


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