Where’s Prime Minister? Hacker threat to Tory ballots delays polls
- UK’s government run spy agency warned of a threat to ballots
- A general threat about the voting process was flagged
- Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss are in the race to be the next Prime Minister
British Conservatives will have to wait longer to vote for the next prime minister of the United Kingdom after GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) spy agency warned that cyber hackers could change people’s ballots, The Telegraph reported Tuesday. The report said there was no specific threat from a hostile state but the advice was more general about the voting process and its vulnerabilities.
The Conservative Party has had to abandon plans to allow party members to change their vote for the next leader, the report said. Party members have been told they will receive their postal ballots around August 11. The ballots were due to be sent out Monday.
The prime ministerial race right now is between former Finance Secretary Rishi Sunak and former Defence Secretary Liz Truss. Sunak, 42, is the frontrunner for the post. A member of Parliament from Richmond since 2015, it was Sunak who led the UK financially through the COVID-19 pandemic. His job retention programme guarded UK against mass unemployment.
However, it was when he was Chancellor of the Treasury that the UK saw a massive rise in inflation, up to 9%, and currently expects prices to rise further. Moreover, the controversy surrounding his wife Akshata Murthy’s tax status has also impacted Sunak’s public profile. Sunak has tried to answer questions on the same at the debates leading up to the polls.
Liz Truss, 47, on the other hand, has garnered a great deal of grassroot support. As defence secretary, Truss she has been the one to lead political communication on the Ukraine crisis. Critical of Boris Johnson’s economic policy, Truss has sought to drive UK through change.
The cyber threat about ballots being changed was flagged by GCHQ. The office is intended to gather communication from around the world to identify and disrupt threats to Britain. A National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) spokesperson, which is part of GCHQ, said it provides advice to the Conservative Party, Reuters reported.
“Defending UK democratic and electoral processes is a priority for the NCSC and we work closely with all Parliamentary political parties, local authorities and MPs to provide cyber security guidance and support,” according to the NCSC spokesperson.