Ex-MI6 Chief Sir Richard Dearlove: 'Politicians and phones have always been a problem'

30 April 2021, 07:37 | Updated: 30 April 2021, 11:17

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

The former Chief of MI6 has warned the way politicians use their phones has 'always been a problem' during a wide-ranging exclusive interview with LBC.

After questions over the PM's use of texting, LBC's Tom Swarbrick asked Sir Richard Dearlove what he made of stories about Boris Johnson's use of WhatsApp.

"Politicians and phones have always been a problem," the former spy chief replied.

Sir Richard, head of the Secret Intelligence Service, better known as MI6, from 1999 to 2004 told Tom that it was not just limited to one particular politician.

"Every single politician I have ever known, foreign or British, have used their phones in a way which probably is unwise."

Sir Richard Dearlove once headed up MI6
Sir Richard Dearlove once headed up MI6. Picture: Getty

When Tom pushed the former MI6 Chief, asking if it was because politicians used their phones to send "secure messages that should be done on secure channels, on open lines that could be hacked."

"You said that, I didn't," Sir Richard enigmatically.

Tom shot back, "you couldn't possibly comment?"


It comes after it emerged Boris Johnson's mobile number has been 'hiding in plain sight for 15 years'. The PM's direct number was left within an old press release.

Critics of the Prime Minister earlier this week claimed Mr Johnson was too attached to his number, while concerns over security were raised over how easy it is to contact him.

Cabinet Secretary Simon Case had urged the PM to change his number some time ago, although the PM is understood to have ignored the advice.

The issue rose in prominence last week after texts between the PM and billionaire James Dyson were leaked.

You can listen live on the Global Player to the full exclusive interview with Sir Richard Dearlove on Swarbrick on Sunday from 10am.