UK government email 'less secure than Gmail'

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The UK's parliamentary email system is less secure than Gmail, the chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee has claimed he was told.

Tom Tugendhat said that contacts at GCHQ had advised him to use Google's email service due to its level of security protection, having been the target of multiple cyberattacks in recent years

Mr Tugendhat told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme he believed several of the attacks to have originated from China and Iran, with the former including him on the list of sanctioned politicians for what it called spreading "lies and disinformation" about the country's treatment of the Uyghur population.


The MP said that a recent email campaign sent out messages claiming to be from him, stating that he had resigned from the foreign affairs committee, which motivated him to investigate.

“I was told by friends at GCHQ...that I was better off sticking to Gmail, rather than using the parliamentary system, because it was more secure,” Mr Tugendhat told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

“Many other cyber attacks have been perpetrated either on me or on others, attacks of impersonation, attempts to enter accounts and various other things.”

“Frankly, that tells you the level of security and the priority we're giving to democracy in the United Kingdom.”

A spokeswoman for the Government said the parliamentary email system "offers significantly higher levels of security than external providers", with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) also saying that MPs should continue to rely on the current email system.

"The Parliamentary email system follows NCSC best practice, including the use of two-factor authentication (2FA), and MPs should continue to use it," an NCSC spokesperson said. "We have worked with political parties, local authorities and individuals for several years on how to protect and defend against cyber attacks - including issuing tailored advice directly and on our website.”


Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.