Conservative lawmaker persuaded to send private data to Grindr user after sharing “intimate” pics

Conservative lawmaker persuaded to send private data to Grindr user after sharing “intimate” pics

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Grindr and Tinder on a phone screen
(Photo: Shutterstock)

A security scandal initiated on Grindr has rocked the British parliament.

William Wragg, 36, is a Conservative MP in Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s government. He first won office in 2015, aged just 27. He represents a district in Manchester.

Wragg is gay, and it now turns out that a chat he had with someone on Grindr did not lead to romance.

Wragg sent over “intimate” pics to his new Grindr friend. The person he was chatting with then began to ask him for the phone numbers of other political figures. Scared that he’d put himself in a compromised position, Wragg now admits he responded with some phone numbers.

Around 12 men, some of whom work in Westminster (the home of the UK parliament) have now received flirtatious, anonymous text messages from someone who calls himself “Charlie.” Police are investigating the matter.

William Wragg MP
William Wragg (Photo: UK Gov.)

Wragg revealed what had happened in an interview yesterday with The Times newspaper.

“They had compromising things on me. They wouldn’t leave me alone.”

A mortified Wragg continued: “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.”

“Westminster misses you”

The BBC managed to speak to one of the men who subsequently received anonymous text messages. He’s a former MP.

He said he received a WhatsApp message on March 11 from a number he did not recognize. The texter appeared to know the former lawmaker.

“The last part of that message was ‘Westminster misses you…’ and that was basically something that friends usually do say anyway to make me feel better,” he told BBC News.

“I was starting to feel bad actually. I was embarrassed thinking I’m speaking to someone who knows who I am and I’m trying desperately not to come across as rude.”

The next message said: “I’ve just become single so I’m hanging out with the Westminster gays.”

This former lawmaker is in a relationship. He was surprised how quickly the messages became flirtatious. When the texter then sent over an explicit image, the former MP blocked the number.

He now realizes it ties in with Wragg’s Grindr interaction. The former MP says he feels sorry for Wragg, who he sees just as much of a “victim” as the other men contacted.

“My first reaction is that I feel awful for him. He’s a friend, my heart goes out to him and I certainly don’t hold any ill-will towards him. I want him to know that.”

Lawmakers urged to contact police

A Parliamentary spokesperson told the BBC: “Parliament takes security extremely seriously and works closely with government in response to such incidents.

“We provide members and staff with tailored advice, making them aware of security risks and how to manage their digital safety. We are encouraging anyone affected who has concerns to contact the Parliamentary Security Department.”

Treasury minister Gareth Davies told media, “Will Wragg has apologised for the action he took, but took in a set of circumstances that I think many could potentially sympathise with, and he felt compromised and acted in a way that he thought appropriate.”

Davies urged any other lawmakers who suspect someone is trying to compromise them to go to the authorities.

He told Times Radio, “They should not come to anybody else other than the police if they feel that they’re a victim of blackmail.”

Wragg joined Parliament in 2015. He took a break in 2022 after revealing he was suffering from depression and anxiety. A few weeks later, he said his mental health had improved and he was looking forward to returning to work. He also announced that year that he did not plan to stand again for re-election. The UK is due to hold a General Election this year.


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