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Labour advocates centralising government cyber security

03/05/19

Mark Say Managing Editor

The Labour Party has come out in favour of a single body and minister to coordinate the Government’s approach to cyber security.

Jo Platt

Shadow Cabinet Office Minister Jo Platt (pictured) has advocated the approach in an article in the New Statesman, arguing that there are shortcomings in the existing National Cyber Security Strategy.

Her call indicates that Labour is getting behind the recommendations of Parliament’s Joint Committee on National Security Strategy, which last year published a report calling for a cyber security lead at ministerial level in national government.

Platt said in a statement: “This total failure to ignite a cyber security revolution in company cultures can be traced back to the flaws in the original 2016 National Cyber Security Strategy.

“For a task as critical and vast as the UK’s cyber resilience, we need a strategic centre to coordinate across departments and ensure high standards and shared practices across government departments.

“A single minister for cyber security, with the commitment and authority to ensure our public sector is safe and to engage constructively with the private sector to bolster resilience, warrants serious consideration.”

Fractured approach

She has added her voice to concerns that the Government’s current approach to cyber security on a national scale is highly fractured, with six ministers holding briefs that include the issue but none in charge of co-ordinating the efforts.

It is understood that the Labour Party is planning to publish its full policy on cyber security within the next few weeks.

Platt’s call comes after the controversy over the Government’s decision to allow Chinese company Huawei access to the UK’s upcoming 5G network, which has intensified anxieties in some quarters about national cyber security.

Speaking in Parliament, Platt said: “The decision to allow Huawei’s involvement in building our 5G network, raises some extremely serious questions that must be answered if we are to provide the public with concrete assurances over the integrity and safety of the network.”

Her office pointed out that the Cyber Security Breach Survey, published last month by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, revealed that only 7% of businesses and 9% of charities have sought information or guidance from public sector bodies on the issue.

Image by Chris McAndrew, CC BY 3.0

 

 

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