England’s Prime Minister is celebrating successes with vaccinations. However, Boris Johnson is currently heavily criticized for a luxury renovation. Now his lax handling of a cell phone number is criticized.
The fuss about Boris Johnson’s handling of his government office is increasing: The British Prime Minister is now under pressure not only because of the luxury renovation of his official apartment, but also because of allegedly lax use of a personal mobile phone number. Critics expressed concern on Friday that the head of government could have endangered national security by apparently continuing to use this telephone number, which was published years ago.
“Please try later”
The number was published on a press release in 2006 when Johnson was a simple MP in the UK House of Commons. According to media reports, he should have used the number until this week. The government initially did not comment on these reports. When I called the number on Friday I heard an announcement that the phone was switched off: “Please try later or send a text message,” said the voice.
Members of the UK Government are given an official smartphone for their professional affairs. They are also instructed by the secret services on how to protect their communications against unauthorized access.
“Basic safety precaution”
Former National Security Advisor Peter Ricketts told the BBC that using the old number could have given hostile state actors or criminal gangs access to Johnson’s contact information. Nowadays it is an “elementary security precaution” for a political leader to change their telephone number. Opposition Labor MP Rachel Hopkins said she raised concerns about Johnson’s old phone number at a parliamentary hearing earlier this week.
Johnson is already in dire straits because of the affair surrounding the luxury renovation of his official residence. The electoral commission responsible for monitoring party and election funding announced on Wednesday an official investigation into whether the redevelopment was financed by private donations or in some other unfair way. In a heated appearance in Parliament this week, Johnson denied any wrongdoing.