Defence Personnel Data Breach Debate

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Department: Ministry of Defence

Defence Personnel Data Breach

James Sunderland Excerpts
Tuesday 7th May 2024

(2 months, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber
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Grant Shapps Portrait Grant Shapps
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I stress again that it is not that I am reluctant to name the malign actor, but that we need more information before I can do so. We are not trying to avoid giving the House this information; we need to be certain before we are able to do so.

My hon. Friend asks who in the Cabinet Office is charged with this responsibility, and I have spoken directly with the Deputy Prime Minister to make sure it is set from the very highest levels. My hon. Friend also asks who has overall responsibility, and it is the excellent Chief of Defence People, Phil Hally, who is very good. He has now chaired, I think, 11 internal meetings on this issue, in order to get everything ready for this afternoon. As I have said, it is with deep regret that we did not quite make it to today before the news started to break late last night. Phil Hally is responsible and will continue to be responsible for those efforts.

James Sunderland Portrait James Sunderland (Bracknell) (Con)
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As an affected veteran, I feel a responsibility for representing and championing my former colleagues in this matter. Will the Defence Secretary please assure me on three particular areas? First, will he assure me that an appropriate diplomatic protest has been made, or will be made, to the guilty party? Secondly, will assurance be given to the House in due course that the firewall protocols given to defence contractors will match or exceed those given to the MOD itself? Thirdly, will he assure me that the information that has been hacked, if indeed it has been hacked, will be sacrosanct so that no malign actor can gain access to bank accounts after this event?

Grant Shapps Portrait Grant Shapps
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I thank my hon. and gallant Friend. He makes three excellent points, and I absolutely assure him that the guilty party will be brought to book. I also assure him that the MOD was not responsible for failing to issue correct instructions, in terms of the contractual requirement to keep this data safe.

Members on both sides of the House have pushed this point hard, and I will make sure that it is not buried or lost in process. I will return to this House. I cannot promise to do that in the next few days, as the Butler process takes a while, but I will not allow it to drop. The House has my undertaking on that issue.