Russian hackers targeted Liam Fox's email
It has been revealed that documents on UK-US trade talks, leaked before the 2019 General Election, were stolen from the personal email account of Tory MP Liam Fox.
The papers were published online and used by Labour in the 2019 campaign to claim the NHS would be put at risk. The government has said that Russians almost certainly sought to interfere in the election through the documents and that the National Crime Agency is leading the investigation.
It is not clear whether Fox's use of a personal account was a breach of rules, as MPs are provided with access to government email systems, but the Cabinet Office says that ‘other forms of electronic communication may be used in the course of conducting government business’.
The news follows an announced by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab last month in which he said that the government had ‘reasonable confidence’ that Russian actors had tried to interfere in the December 2019 General Election.
The government has been heavily criticised by the Intelligence and Security Committee for having ‘badly underestimated’ the threat the country posed.
Fox, a former Defence Secretary between 2010 and 2011, was nominated as the UK government's choice to lead the World Trade Organization, although the new director general has yet to be named. More recently, he was International Trade Secretary from July 2016 to July 2019.