Cyber attacks are a threat to Downing Street says Blunkett
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Lord David Blunkett has urged the Government to beef up security in Downing Street and around Boris Johnson over fears of cyber intrusions and physical attacks. The former Home Secretary insisted that the Prime Minister could be a target of physical harm as well as Chancellor Rishi Sunak. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) warned companies about potential dangers after a string of cyber attacks in Ukraine, believed to have been launched by Russia, took place.
With attacks posing a serious risk to Mr Johnson, even more so after he is expected to visit Ukraine next week and hold emergency meetings with Vladimir Putin, Lord Blunkett insisted reinforcement is essential.
In an interview with LBC presenter Tom Swarbrick, the peer raised the issue and recalled how the IRA aimed to assassinate Prime Minister John Major in 1991, targeting Downing Street with mortar projectiles in an attempt to kill him.
He said: “There is a real problem at Downing Street in terms of understanding the genuine security that they should have in place.
“When John Major was Prime Minister he was attacked by the IRA on Downing Street.
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“Since then, we’ve developed an understanding of cyber-attack as opposed to physical attack.”
He argued those tasked with offering protection to Mr Johnson are oblivious to the real danger of imminent cyber attacks as he urged the country to “draw a line” under his party scandals in a bid to regain some credibility in the eyes of the world following a number of “fiascos” recently.
He said: “I don’t think the people dealing with security around the Prime Minister and the Chancellor have an idea of the potential of cyber attack.
“And I think out of this fiasco over the last few months, the revelations, I think we should be concentrating on getting that right as well as draw a line under what’s happened with the parties and try to restore some credibility to the British Government.”
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When asked if Mr Johnson is a “security risk” he responded: “I think, yes”.
Lord Blunkett would alao not rule out “foreign powers” to have been behind the latest Downing Street leaks regarding the party evidence that came to light.
He added: “I think that the way that this is emerged needs us to ask the question: what if it was a foreign power with malign interests that had actually infiltrated the systems at Downing Street including CCTV?
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“I mean it clearly wasn’t, but you know, at one stage I was thinking who knows? Who is behind this? As well as Dominic Cummings!”
Lord Blunkett insisted that once the investigations over Mr Johnson’s party allegations are terminated, it will be paramount to discover who triggered them in the first place by betraying the Prime Minister as they undermined the British Government.
He added: “Those questions are profound ones for the future.
“And why we must clear up who did what and why they let us down very badly in terms of the breach of rules that they were making.
“In the long-term we have to get these other issues sorted.”
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