Labour suspends member after arrest made in Westminster honeytrap scandal

 (PA Archive)
(PA Archive)

A Labour member has been suspended from the party after being arrested in north London on Wednesday.

It comes after the Met Police said a man was arrested in connection with the Westminster “honeytrap” scandal where MPs received explicit images and flirtatious messages from anonymous WhatsApp accounts.

Labour was on Wednesday notified of an arrest of a party member in Islington and administratively suspended the person from membership of the party, it is understood.

The party said it cannot comment further due to a police investigation.

The Met confirmed that the man was arrested on Wednesday in Islington on suspicion of harassment and offences under the Online Safety Act.

Multiple victims have been informed by the Metropolitan Police.

It comes after a string of men, who mainly worked in Parliament, revealed that they had received unsolicited messages from someone calling themselves either "Charlie" or "Abi" earlier this year.

In some cases explicit images were exchanged.

William Wragg, then a senior Tory MP, resigned the Conservative whip in April after admitting that he gave the phone numbers of fellow MPs to a person he had matched with on the gay dating app Grindr.

He said he handed over the information because he was "scared" after he sent intimate pictures of himself.

Others targeted in the apparent sting include then-Conservative MP for Bosworth, Luke Evans.

He said he contacted detectives after becoming "a victim of cyber-flashing and malicious communications".

The Met first announced it was investigating the scandal in April.

A police spokesman said: “On Wednesday, June 26, police executed a warrant at an address in Islington. A man was arrested on suspicion of harassment and committing offences under the Online Safety Act. He was taken into custody where he remains.

“The arrest relates to an investigation being carried out by the Met’s Parliamentary Liaison and Investigation

“Team following reports of unsolicited messages sent to MPs and others. The investigation remains ongoing.”

The honeytrap sexting scam was described as “spear phishing”, a type of cyber attack that targets specific groups.

It involves scammers pretending to be trusted senders in order to steal personal or sensitive information.

MPs are understood to have been told by the scammer that they had met before and the messages included details of their career and campaigns they had worked on.

After revealing he had handed over the phone number’s of colleagues, Mr Wragg said: “They had compromising things on me. They wouldn’t leave me alone. They would ask for people.

“I gave them some numbers, not all of them. I told him to stop.

“He’s manipulated me and now I’ve hurt other people.

“I got chatting to a guy on an app and we exchanged pictures.

“We were meant to meet up for drinks, but then didn’t. “Then he started asking for numbers of people.

“I was worried because he had stuff on me. He gave me a WhatsApp number, which doesn’t work now. “I’ve hurt people by being weak. I was scared. I’m mortified. “I’m so sorry that my weakness has caused other people hurt.”