UK parliament ditches TikTok account over China security concerns – politics live | Politics

Parliament ditches TikTok account over China security concerns

Parliament has taken down its newly created TikTok account after Conservative MPs sanctioned by China raised concerns about the social media platform’s data security.

Last week, senior MPs and members of the House of Lords, including Tom Tugendhat, Iain Duncan Smith and Nus Ghani, criticised parliamentary authorities for setting up the account on TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese technology company ByteDance.

In a joint letter to the speakers of the House of Commons and the House of Lords and seen by Politico, the group of Conservative politicians said they were “surprised and disappointed” with the decision to set up the account.

They said:

The prospect of Xi Jinping’s government having access to personal data on our children’s phones ought to be a cause for major concern.

The letter urged parliamentary authorities to take down the account “until credible assurances can be given that no data whatsoever can be transferred to China”.

The TikTok account has now been locked and its content deleted, Politico’s Eleni Courea reports.

NEW – Parliament has shut down its TikTok account after MPs sanctioned by China raised concerns about data security in a letter revealed by Playbook

Parliament spox: “Based on Member feedback, we are closing the pilot UK Parliament TikTok account earlier than we had planned”

— Eleni Courea (@elenicourea) August 3, 2022

Ghani, a vice-chair of the party’s 1922 Committee, shared a letter from the speakers of the House of Commons and the House of Lords and thanked them for the decision.

The letter said:

We were not consulted on the plans for this pilot project, but over the last few days we have discussed the initiative with officials. The account was an attempt to engage with younger audiences – who are not always active on our existing social media platforms – regarding the work of Parliament.

However, in light of your feedback and concerns expressed to us, we have decided that the account should be closed with immediate effect.

Key events

Filters BETA

Liz Truss has said she is “not taking anything for granted” after a YouGov poll showed her leading 34 points over Rishi Sunak among Conservative party members.

Asked if she was looking forward to being prime minister, Truss replied:

There is still a long way to go in this leadership election.

On a campaign visit in Ludlow, Shropshire, the Tory leadership hopeful insisted her U-turn on civil service pay showed she was “decisive”.

She repeated her claim that the policy had been “misrepresented” although she did not say how, or why it was being abandoned entirely rather than clarified.

Truss said:

The policy that I put forward was misrepresented.

I wanted to make sure that our important frontline workers like doctors and teachers weren’t worried, that’s why I cancelled the policy.

I did it straight away, I was decisive and I was honest with the public about what I was doing.

Miqdaad Versi argues that Rishi Sunak’s plan to widen the government’s definition of extremism to include those who “vilify our country” is idiotic and dangerous.

Rishi Sunak promises new leadership for the UK, but that doesn’t seem to be attracting enough support from the Conservative “selectorate”, so this is what he is promising today: he will double down on the failing Prevent strategy, by pivoting to targeting “Islamist extremism” and those who “vilify” the United Kingdom.

This would require some agility, so Sunak promises to widen the already fuzzy government definition of extremismcriticised widely for being too expansive – to encompass those who “vilify our country”.

The implication seems to be that any public sector worker covered by the Prevent duty would be required to refer anyone they believe is “vilifying” to the authorities.

Some insight from Jessica Elgot regarding Labour’s thoughts on Truss/Sunak

Finding it quite weird seeing all these “Labour has underestimated Liz Truss” takes.

Every senior Labour person I have ever spoken to has told me they would prefer Sunak because his record is super easy to attack as chancellor and Truss is far more unpredictable.

— Jessica Elgot (@jessicaelgot) August 3, 2022

Sunak brings his own problems for Lab because they see him as more likely to stop the LDs taking seats (every Lab majority needs good LD performance) and most Labour people I spoke to saw Truss as preferable to Mordaunt. But no one I know thought she’d be a walk in the park.

— Jessica Elgot (@jessicaelgot) August 3, 2022

A spokesperson for TikTok, after parliament closed its account on the platform, said:

While it is disappointing that parliament will no longer be able to connect with the millions of people who use TikTok in the UK, we reiterate the offer to reassure those members of parliament who raised concerns and clarify any inaccuracies about our platform.

Dan Milmo

Dan Milmo

Nick Clegg, the president of global affairs at Facebook’s parent company, is partly relocating to London as he joins senior colleagues in moving to the UK capital.

The former Liberal Democrat leader will divide his time between California, where he lives currently, and London. Clegg’s new executive role at Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta will require more travelling and it is understood that Clegg sees London as a suitable base for visiting Europe and Asia.

The Financial Times, which first reported the move, said Clegg wanted to spend more time in the UK and continental Europe for personal reasons, including wanting to be closer to his elderly parents.

Aubrey Allegretti

Campaigners have called for an end to “unchecked political patronage” as polling found most people oppose plans for Boris Johnson to appoint new peers in the final weeks of his premiership.

Alarm was raised by the Electoral Reform Society over a proposal drawn up by CT Group – a political lobbying firm run by the Conservative adviser Lynton Crosby – for the prime minister to appoint up to 50 new Conservative lawmakers to ram contentious legislation through parliament.

The leaked document sparked condemnation from Gordon Brown, and led to accusations the Lords was already “bursting at the seams”, meaning more “meaningful checks and balances” on appointments were needed.

Polling from Opinium found 54% of people are against Johnson drawing up a “resignation honours” list that could ennoble key allies who stuck by him during the dying days of his administration and urged him to fight on. Just 13% backed the move, while 34% expressed no view.

Among voters who backed the Conservatives in 2019, 41% were against the plan while 21% were in favour. There were 2,000 adults surveyed at the end of July and their responses were weighted to be nationally representative.

Read the full article here.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith has welcomed the decision to close parliament’s TikTok account, after MPs raised concerns about the social media platform’s Chinese links.

He told the PA news agency:

We are pleased that parliament, immediately they were told, understood there was a problem and shut it down

It’s important for others to look at that now and we need to start talking to people about not using TikTok.

Boris Johnson seen as a better PM than either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak, poll shows

Here’s more from that YouGov poll conducted for the Times, which found that Conservative party members still believe Boris Johnson would make a better prime minister than the two leadership contenders, Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss.

Asked who they thought would make the better prime minister, Truss leads Sunak by 58% to 29%. But throwing Boris Johnson into the ring shows him winning, with 40% saying he would make the best PM, to Truss’s 28% and Sunak’s 23%.

Those who intend to vote for Truss are divided, with 49% backing Johnson compared with 45% who think Truss will be an improvement. By contrast, few Sunak voters are deterred: 76% think the former chancellor would be the better PM, with only 18% switching their vote over to Johnson.

Only 39% of members believe that the Tories will win a majority at the next election under Liz Truss. Even fewer (19%) say so if Rishi Sunak is in charge.

Of those who intend to vote for Sunak, just 37% expect him to lead the Tories to a majority in 2024.

Few Tory members expect the Tories to win a majority under either leadership candidate

Truss
Majority: 39%
Majority/largest party: 66%

Sunak
Majority: 19%
Majority/largest party: 52%

Only 37% who intend to vote for Sunak expect him to win a majorityhttps://t.co/r58kzKSrfX pic.twitter.com/YpnzP6haxl

— YouGov (@YouGov) August 3, 2022

Mark Brown

Mark Brown

A parliamentary aide and former partner of a Labour MP has won a claim against him for unfair dismissal with a tribunal also agreeing she was “isolated and marginalised” for a year before being sacked.

Elaina Cohen won two claims that she made against her former boss Khalid Mahmood, the MP for Birmingham Perry Barr. But she lost other claims including that her dismissal was related to race, religion or belief.

Cohen had accused Mahmood of sacking her after she raised concerns with him under whistleblowing regulations about allegations of criminal behaviour by a fellow staffer.

Mahmood maintained that Cohen was dismissed for breaking protocols of parliamentary office and sending him “derogatory” and “offensive” emails, one of which described him as a “first-class idiot”, which was forwarded to the Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer.

In his letter dismissing Cohen he accused her of repeatedly disrespecting him, calling him names and copying in additional people to intimidate him.

The tribunal heard, over a six-day hearing in May, that Cohen’s nickname for Mahmood in WhatsApp messages was “catfish”.

This week the tribunal published its findings, agreeing that Cohen was unfairly dismissed.

Read the full article here.

Parliament ditches TikTok account over China security concerns

Parliament has taken down its newly created TikTok account after Conservative MPs sanctioned by China raised concerns about the social media platform’s data security.

Last week, senior MPs and members of the House of Lords, including Tom Tugendhat, Iain Duncan Smith and Nus Ghani, criticised parliamentary authorities for setting up the account on TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese technology company ByteDance.

In a joint letter to the speakers of the House of Commons and the House of Lords and seen by Politico, the group of Conservative politicians said they were “surprised and disappointed” with the decision to set up the account.

They said:

The prospect of Xi Jinping’s government having access to personal data on our children’s phones ought to be a cause for major concern.

The letter urged parliamentary authorities to take down the account “until credible assurances can be given that no data whatsoever can be transferred to China”.

The TikTok account has now been locked and its content deleted, Politico’s Eleni Courea reports.

NEW – Parliament has shut down its TikTok account after MPs sanctioned by China raised concerns about data security in a letter revealed by Playbook

Parliament spox: “Based on Member feedback, we are closing the pilot UK Parliament TikTok account earlier than we had planned”

— Eleni Courea (@elenicourea) August 3, 2022

Ghani, a vice-chair of the party’s 1922 Committee, shared a letter from the speakers of the House of Commons and the House of Lords and thanked them for the decision.

The letter said:

We were not consulted on the plans for this pilot project, but over the last few days we have discussed the initiative with officials. The account was an attempt to engage with younger audiences – who are not always active on our existing social media platforms – regarding the work of Parliament.

However, in light of your feedback and concerns expressed to us, we have decided that the account should be closed with immediate effect.

Tory peer calls for leadership contest to be halted over cyber security concerns

Former Conservative party treasurer, Lord Cruddas, has called for the leadership contest to be suspended after the delivery of ballot papers to party members was delayed following security concerns.

Cruddas, who has led a campaign for Boris Johnson’s name to be on the ballot, suggested the PM’s resignation should be rejected and that he should stay in his role until any security issues are resolved.

In a letter to the party’s board seen on the Conservative Post website, Cruddas said:

The board should reject the resignation of the prime minister and ask him to stay on whilst the board fixes any cyber issues and the leadership campaign can be revisited in due course.

He called for the board to “immediately” suspend the leadership campaign and to allow party members to decide on a yes/no ballot to accept Johnson’s resignation.

He added:

If the members vote to keep Boris then there is no need for a leadership campaign and no more cyber security threats.

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