Man arrested over unsolicited messages sent to MPs and others in Westminster honeytrap scandal


The Metropolitan Police have arrested a suspect in connection with the Westminster honeytrap scandal, in which a number of men received unsolicited text messages.

The Met executed a warrant in Islington, North London, on Wednesday (26 June), arresting a man on suspicion of harassment and offences under the Online Safety Act.

What is a honeytrap?

The term is used to describe using sexual and/or romantic relationships for personal, political or monetary gain.

In essence, it is when someone poses as being romantically and/or sexually interested in a victim to extract information, blackmail or gain influence over them.

In the Cold War, for example, women were used by the KGB to seduce foreign officials, enabling them to spy on them and force them to divulge information. One of the most famous instances of was the 1963 Profumo affair which ultimately led to the downfall of the Conservative government.

Earlier this year, news broke that a number of men working in parliament were targeted in a Westminster honeytrap scheme, with MPs, staffers and political journalists receiving unsolicited messages – including explicit pictures – from people calling themselves Charlie or Abi.

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William Wragg, then the Conservative MP for Hazel Grove in Greater Manchester, revealed that he given contact details of his colleagues to the unknown party after sharing intimate pictures of himself with a person he met on the gay dating app.

A now former MP exchanged photos on gay dating app Grindr. (Avishek Das/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

He was “scared” because the Grindr match had “compromising things on me” and they “wouldn’t leave me alone”, Wragg said.

“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 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. I’m so sorry that my weakness has caused other people hurt.”

A spokesperson for the Met said: “A man was arrested on suspicion of harassment and committing offences under the Online Safety Act. He was taken into custody where he remains.

“The arrest relates to an investigation being carried out by the Met’s Parliamentary Liaison and Investigation team following reports of unsolicited messages sent to MPs and others. The investigation remains ongoing.”

Wragg stood down from his government roles after news of the scandal broke. He had already announced that he would not be standing for re-election.

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