A top cyber expert has warned that “KGB” spies could have signed up a “significant number of stooges” to “swing” the Conservative Party’s vote in the upcoming leadership race.
Peter Ryan, a professor of applied security at the University of Luxembourg, told the PA that should the Tory leadership race go to an online vote then this could be hacked to change the result of who wins, which could be likely as many MPs are now away on their holidays.
Little is known to the exact number of those who are members of the Tory Party, but there are estimates of around 180,000 and 200,000.
On the Tory website there is a membership option called “Conservatives Abroad,” which says “anyone living anywhere in the world is welcome to join Conservatives Abroad from just £25 per year.”
Adding, “As an overseas member, you are entitled to all the benefits of party membership, including participation in the Conservative Policy Forum, attendance at party conferences and a vote in the election of the party leader.”
Professor Ryan said, “They are not prepared to say anything about their membership.
“It seems to be easy to register as a non-UK voter.
“We don’t know that much about the electorate that are putting in place the leader of a G7 country.
“There could be a lot of people overseas that are not even UK citizens.
“For all we know, the KGB could have signed up a significant number of stooges.
“The margin last time was low – it would not take much to swing it.”
The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) who are a part of the GCHQ spy agency said, “Defending UK democratic and electoral processes is a priority for the NCSC and we work closely with all parliamentary political parties, local authorities and MPs to provide cyber security guidance and support.
“As the UK’s national technical authority for cyber security, we continue to provide advice to the Conservative Party, including on security considerations for online leadership voting.”