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 Times of London newspaper that he had handed over the phone numbers to a man he met on a gay dating app, after he had sent intimate pictures of himself.

Wragg, 36, told The Times that the man had “compromising things” on him and he was “scared” and “manipulated” into giving his colleagues’ numbers to the unknown individual he had met on the gay dating app Grindr.


“I gave them some numbers, not all of them,” he said. “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. 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.

British Conservative MP William Wragg

British Conservative MP William Wragg, pictured here, revealed that he was “manipulated” into giving up personal phone numbers of colleagues to a man he met on a gay dating app, after he had sent intimate pictures of himself. (UK Parliament via AP)

“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 honeytrap sexting scam has been described as “spear phishing,” a type of cyber-attack 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 published in Politico, that a number of current and former parliamentarians had been contacted by an unknown number on WhatsApp, detailing prior meetings with politicians, in efforts to acquire personal or sensitive information. The report said some of those targeted were sent naked images, with at least two reported to have responded by sending images of themselves.

“I would say to anyone watching this that 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 because it’s an incredibly serious matter,” Davies added.

Leicestershire Police in central England has confirmed that it is investigating a report of malicious communications after a number of unsolicited messages were sent to a local lawmaker last month.


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