MPs blocked from seeing constituents emails in surprise cyber attack

MPs have been unable to access constituents’ emails amid fears of a possible cyber attack on the Houses of Parliament.

A number of email accounts were locked out of Parliament’s network on Monday (November 20), according to reports.

Parliament’s spokesperson said just before 5pm: “The IT issue affecting the Parliamentary network has been identified and is being addressed urgently.

“The business of both chambers is unaffected.”

In a tweet, James Heale, political correspondent for the Spectator magazine, cited a peer who said the issue surfaced just as former prime minister David Cameron took his seat in the House of Lords.

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Mr Heale went on to quote a House of Commons spokesman as saying: “We are aware of some ongoing issues with the parliamentary network, with some users currently unable to access accounts.

“We are working to resolve the issues as quickly as possible.”

He tweeted again at about 5.40pm, again citing a Commons spokesman: “The IT issue affecting the Parliamentary network has now been resolved.

“Teams worked to resolve the matter as soon as it was identified.”

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According to Mr Heale, authorities have been pursuing a campaign to bolster security at the Palace of Westminster.

In December, a list revealed 27 items of parliamentary-supplied equipment had been lost or stolen while they were assigned to MPs in the House of Commons.

Cyber security experts warned at the time that the loss of the devices, which potentially contained sensitive data, could give a “window of opportunity” to hostile foreign states and organised crime gangs.

Only two of the devices were marked as found, and at the time it was not known what happened in the other 25 cases.

There is no suggestion the IT issue reported on Monday is connected to the lost devices.

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