UK MP: 'I've Hurt People by Being Weak'

William Wragg says he revealed colleagues' phone numbers after getting caught up in sexting scam
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 5, 2024 10:04 AM CDT
UK MP: I Was 'Manipulated' in Sexting Scam
An undated handout file photo of British Conservative MP William Wragg.   (UK Parliament via AP)

British lawmakers who may have been targeted in a sexting scam were urged Friday to go to police, after a senior Conservative admitted disclosing the personal phone numbers of some colleagues to an unknown individual who held "compromising" material on him. William Wragg, who chairs the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee in Parliament, told the London Times that he'd handed over the phone numbers to a man he met on Grindr, after he'd sent intimate pictures of himself, per the AP.

Wragg, 36, told the Times that he was "scared" and "manipulated" into giving his colleagues' numbers to the unknown individual. "I gave them some numbers, not all of them," he said. "I got chatting [with] a guy on an app and we exchanged pictures." Wragg added: "We were meant to meet up for drinks but then didn't. Then he started asking for numbers of people. I was worried because he had stuff on me. He gave me a WhatsApp number, which doesn't work now. I've hurt people by being weak. I was scared. I'm mortified." Treasury Minister Gareth Davies urged those affected to go to the police.

"Will Wragg has rightly apologized for the action that he took, but I think it's clear to anybody hearing about the situation that he was in, people react in different ways," he told Sky News. The "honey trap" sexting scam has been described as "spear phishing," a type of cyberattack that targets specific groups. It involves scammers pretending to be trusted senders in order to steal personal or sensitive information. Wragg's revelation came after days of speculation, stoked by an article in Politico, that a number of current and ex-parliamentarians had been contacted by an unknown number on WhatsApp, detailing prior meetings with politicians, in efforts to acquire personal or sensitive information.

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The report said some of those targeted were sent naked images, with at least two reported to have responded by sending images of themselves. "If you ever feel like you're in a compromised position, if you ever feel like you're being blackmailed, then you should go to the police immediately," Davies noted. Leicestershire Police have confirmed they're investigating a report of malicious communications after a number of unsolicited messages were sent to a local lawmaker last month. (More sexting stories.)

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