“Extremely serious” and “concerning” reports that Liz Truss’s phone was hacked by Russia must be investigated say Labour and the Liberal Democrats.
Truss’s personal phone was allegedly hacked by Russian agents during the summer Tory leadership campaign. They accessed details of the then foreign secretary’s communications with cabinet colleagues, international allies and highly sensitive information.
So “heavily compromised” was Truss’s phone that it was taken and “locked safe inside a secure government location”, according to the Mail on Sunday, which broke the story. The breach was discovered in the summer but details about it were suppressed by then prime minister Boris Johnson and cabinet secretary Simon Case.
Discussion between the foreign secretary and officials about the war in Ukraine are believed to have been accessed by Vladimir Putin’s spies. As too, private conversations between Truss and her chancellor-to-be Kwasi Kwarteng – reportedly critical of Johnson – which are claimed to have potentially put them at risk of blackmail.
Truss’s phone hacked – was there a news blackout?
“There are immensely important national security issues raised by an attack like this by a hostile state which will have been taken extremely seriously by our intelligence and security agencies,” said the shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper.
“There are also serious security questions around why and how this information has been leaked or released right now which must also be urgently investigated.
“It is essential that all of these security issues are investigated and addressed at the very highest level and we need to know that the Government recognises the gravity of this and the importance of fully protecting our national security.”
Layla Moran, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesperson said an “urgent independent investigation” is needed to “uncover the truth.
Moran continued: “Was Liz Truss’s phone hacked by Russia, was there a news blackout and if so why?
“If it turns out this information was withheld from the public to protect Liz Truss’s leadership bid, that would be unforgivable.”
Tobias Ellwood, Conservative MP and chair of the defence select committee said he is aware of the reports but not the incident, and told Sky News that Russian cyber attacks and hacking are a “constant threat” and “they are getting better and better” at it.
We take the most stringent measures to make sure it doesn’t happen,” said Ellwood. “It is something for the intelligence and security committee to investigate further.”
A spokesperson for the government said they “do not comment on individuals’ security arrangements” and added that “robust systems” are in place to “protect against cyber threats.”
This includes, the spokesperson said, “regular security briefings for Ministers, and advice on protecting their personal data and mitigating cyber threats.”