Grant Shapps says it will ‘take some time’ to conclude who was to blame for cyber-attack on armed forces payroll – as it happened

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reports that China was responsible.

  • Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor, has accused Labour of trying to win the election by frightening pensioners with “fake news” about the government having a secret plan to raise income tax by 8p in the pound. (See 3.42pm.)

  • Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, has tried to counter arguments that Labour is not offering proper change at the election by arguing “stability is change”. Under the Tories, the country would face “five more years of chaos”, she said in a speech. (See 9.01am and 12.10pm.)

China was to blame, Shapps was not willing to say so publicly because he was leant on by the Foreign Office. He said the UK should stand up to China as the China stood up to the UK. sanctioned by the regime as a result) said that, on the basis of what happened after previous Chinese hacks, it might take two years for the government to declare China responsible. He says the government should put China in the enhanced sphere under the National Security Act 2023. That would mean groups or individuals acting on behalf of China in the UK being subject to tighter controls.

Shapps said that, if he were to commit to that now, he would be pre-judging the results of the inquiry into this incident.

China was responsible for the attack. Pointing out that the government has already blamed China for a cyber-attack on the Electoral Commission, and for trying to obtain information from MPs, she said it was time for the government to recognise that China is acting like an enemy.

Shapps said that in relation to this incident “it is not the case … that there is a proven connection” to China. He went on:

Although we can see a malign actor is involved, we have yet to make the full connection to a state – although I can’t rule that out. But that might be the conclusion. We have no evidence to conclude that way yet.


UPDATE: This is from Sky’s Sam Coates, who broke the story last night.

After Labour’s John Healey names Shared Services Connected Ltd – SSCL – as the contractor involved in the MoD hack, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps confirms it

SSCL says “SSCL plays a central role in delivering the MOD’s vision to transform core payroll, HR and pension services for 230,000 military personal and reservists and 2 million veterans”

China was to blame.9.49am.)on the early day motion list.

It would be different if the official opposition tabled a no confidence motion. By convention, they do have to be debated. But Labour is the official opposition.

The Liberal Democrats cannot even be sure of using an opposition day debate to get this debated. There are 20 days set aside per session for opposition day debates, but Labour chooses the motion on 17 of those days, and the other three days are allocated to the third largest party in the Commons, the SNP. In theory the SNP is supposed to share that time with other, smaller parties, but the Lib Dems are not guaranteed anything.


Hunt said:

The biggest single thing we can do to help with cost of living pressures is to bring down inflation. And that seems to be something that escaped the shadow chancellor this morning when she said it wasn’t a big deal to get inflation down to its target.

It’s a very, very big deal for families facing a cost of living crisis, and she needs to know that inflation falls by design and not by accident.

Reeves did not quite put it like that in her speech. Her argument was that people did not feel better off, partly because “this is forecast to be the first parliament on record with living standards actually lower at its end than at the start”.

Scotland, whatever our specific role happens to be”. And he promised to listen not just to people who voted for pro-independence parties, but also to people who didn’t.


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