Tory MP William Wragg admits to leaking phone numbers in ‘honeytrap’ scandal

The vice chairman of the 1922 committee said he was ‘mortified’ after handing over colleagues’ numbers to a man he met on a gay dating app

Holly Evans
Thursday 04 April 2024 21:32 BST
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A senior Conservative MP has apologised after revealing his involvement in a Westminster honeytrap sexting scandal, which targeted a minister and fellow MPs.

William Wragg had leaked colleagues’ numbers to a man he had met on the gay dating app Grindr, after becoming scared over sending intimate pictures of himself to the user.

Speaking to The Times, the vice-chairman of the 1922 committee said he provided the contact details after he feared the man had “compromising things on me”.

Colleagues, which include MPs, members of their staff, and a political journalist, were later sent unsolicited flirtatious texts from senders calling themselves “Charlie” or “Abi” in a suspected spear phishing attack.

It is understood that two MPs responded by sending an explicit image of themselves, with the scandal now the subject of an investigation by Leicestershire Police.

Wragg said that the unknown sender had ‘compromising things’ on him
Wragg said that the unknown sender had ‘compromising things’ on him (PA)

The force said it had received a complaint of “malicious communications” against a parliamentarian, after a number of unsolicited messages were sent to a Leicestershire MP last month.

Mr Wragg, 36, who is openly gay, told The Times: “They had compromising things on me. They wouldn’t leave me alone. They would ask for people. I gave them some numbers, not all of them. I told him to stop. He’s manipulated me and now I’ve hurt other people”.

“I got chatting to a guy on an app and we exchanged pictures. 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.”

The MP for Hazel Grove in Greater Manchester added: “I’ve hurt people by being weak. I was scared. I’m mortified. I’m so sorry that my weakness has caused other people hurt.”

Politico originally reported on the scandal, and on Thursday revealed that Leicestershire Police had launched an investigation. It said MPs were sent late-night texts from an unknown sender, who claimed to have met them years ago in a bar.

Soon afterwards, they were sent an explicit image and asked to reciprocate. While many were said to have blocked “Charlie”, The Times reported that two MPs did respond with an explicit image of themselves.

One former MP told the BBC that he had been targeted, with a person called “Charlie” sending him an explicit image after being contacted on WhatsApp on 11 March. “The fact that somebody tried to and that their intent behind it was probably to do harm is really worrying,” he said.

Mr Wragg was approached by the newspaper after MPs and other parliamentary figures confided in each other about their concerns and their suspicion of his involvement. The Independent has approached Mr Wragg for comment.

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