Senior Tory MP resigns from two Commons roles over ‘honey trap’ scandal

MP William Wragg steps down from two important backbench roles over Westminster Whatsapp scam

UPDATE: William Wragg “voluntarily” resigned the Tory whip on Tuesday evening. 

The senior Tory MP who admitted to leaking the numbers of Westminster colleagues to someone he met on a dating app has resigned from two important backbench roles.

MP William Wragg has stepped down as chair of the Commons public administration and constitutional affairs committee and quit as the vice-chair of the 1922 Committee of Conservative backbenchers.

Last Thursday, the MP for Hazel Grove admitted to leaking MPs personal numbers to a man he met on Grindr, for fear of being blackmailed over “compromising” content the person on the dating app held on him. 

At least 20 people in UK politics were verified by Politico to have been directly targeted with unsolicited WhatsApps by two phone numbers, sending elicit messages, and in several cases explicit images. So far police forces in London and Leicestershire are investigating.

Some journalists have also revealed how they were targeted in the Westminster honey trap, including the BBC’s political correspondent Henry Zeffman and Novara Media’s Michael Walker. 

There have been calls for Mr Wragg, who is already set to stand down as MP at the next election, to lose the party whip and he has come under fire from Tory MPs including Nadine Dorries, Andrea Jenkins and Jacob Rees-Mogg. 

Rees-Mogg said on GB News: “William Wragg … has always been willing, in his glass house, to throw stones when people have fallen below his high standards. So the question arises of how much sympathy does he deserve for falling for a pretty obvious honey trap, sending deeply insalubrious photographs over the internet, and then revealing telephone numbers that he held as a matter of trust for other politicians?”

Other MPs have defended the MP such as Chancellor Jeremy Hunt who said Wragg had made a “courageous and fulsome apology” while Oliver Dowden said he “deserves some credit for being open and transparent about it”. 

However Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said Mr Wragg “should quit if the prime minister doesn’t sack him first”, and added that it was now “a question about Rishi Sunak’s judgement”.

Hannah Davenport is news reporter at Left Foot Forward, focusing on trade unions and environmental issues

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