Good morning. One of the many aspects in which Boris Johnson is unusually casual about the conventional obligations imposed on prime ministers has been his determination to keep doing business via his mobile phone. Last week No 10 refused to deny reports that he had ignored a suggestion from Simon Case, the cabinet secretary, that he should change the number. And last night it emerged that his number has been available online for years in a dusty corner of the internet.
Does this matter very much? One assumes the Russians and the Chinese had the number already anyway, and so probably not, but on the Today programme this morning Lord Ricketts, a former national security adviser, said this was a matter of some concern. Asked if this mattered, he replied:
Yes it does matter, because access to the prime minister is a very valuable commodity and if this same mobile phone number has been used for 15 or 20 years, then hundreds if not thousands of people must have access to it, and that gives them privileged access to someone who is no longer the MP for Henley but the prime minister of the country.
Asked if there were security implications, Ricketts replied:
Well, there could be, because if his mobile phone number has been that widely available you can’t rule out that others who you really don’t want to have his number, like hostile states with sophisticated cyber capabilities or criminal gangs, may have it as well. That’s the risk you run if you don’t take care of your digital security in the same way as your physical security when you’re prime minister.
Anyone calling the number now just hears a message saying the phone has been switched off and inviting them to try later or send a text.
Parliament has now prorogued ahead of next week’s elections and the Queen’s speech, and so there is not a lot on the diary for today. Here is the agenda.
Here is the agenda for the day.
9.30am: The ONS publishes figures on the social impacts of coronavirus.
11am: Matt Hancock, the health secretary, gives a speech to the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services spring conference.
12pm: The ONS publishes its weekly Covid infection survey results.
Covid is the issue dominating UK politics this year and often Politics Live has been largely or wholly devoted to coronavirus. But I will also be covering non-Covid politics, and today the blog is likely to be a mix of Covid and non-Covid. For global coronavirus news, do read our global live blog.
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