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

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.

Also Read | UK Prime Minister race: It’s Rishi Sunak versus Liz Truss

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.

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