Tory Leadership Race Voting Reportedly Delayed Over ‘Security Considerations’
07:48 GMT 03.08.2022 (Updated: 15:20 GMT 28.05.2023)
Rishi Sunak currently trails Liz Truss in Tory membership polls, with the latest YouGov survey giving the UK foreign secretary a 60% approval rating among respondents, while the former Chancellor is backed by 26%. Sunak and Truss are competing to succeed Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who announced his resignation on July 7.
Voting in the UK Conservative Party leadership contest has been delayed by more than a week due to security concerns, according to the Telegraph.
The newspaper reported that Tory members were informed about the delay by the party on Tuesday night, and that no reason for the specific security fears was given.
“Your ballot is now on the way – but it will arrive with you a little later than we originally said. Please do not worry. This is because we have taken some time to add some additional security to our ballot process, which has delayed us slightly,” the party’s message, seen by the Telegraph, reads.
The delay means that postal ballots will arrive at the addresses of about 160,000 Tory members on August 11; they were previously meant to be sent out from Monday.
The decision to delay the vote was reportedly taken on the advice of the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC), part of the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)’s listening post, who warned that cyberhackers could meddle with Tory members’ ballots.
The Telegraph cited an NCSC spokesperson as saying that “UK democratic and electoral processes is a priority for the NCSC,” and that the center works “closely with all parliamentary political parties, local authorities and MPs to provide cyber security guidance and support."
“As you would expect from the UK’s national cyber security authority, we provided advice to the Conservative Party on security considerations for online leadership voting,” the NCSC added.
The developments come as the latest YouGov poll of Conservative Party members for The Times indicated that 60% of respondents are now saying they will vote for Foreign Secretary Liz Truss
to succeed Boris Johnson as prime minister, as compared to just 26% backing former Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
The two remaining candidates in the Tory leadership race are due to lock horns in another live TV debate on Sky News on August 4 following several such showdowns last month, when they crossed swords over a spate of pressing issues related to taxes, economic recession, China, and Ukraine.
As for voting, it is due to wrap up on September 2, with the winner expected to be announced three days later.