Brand new £5bn mega spy base rivalling GCHQ will be built in Lancashire

A MEGA spy base rivalling GCHQ and costing £5billion will be built in the north-west, it was announced yesterday.

Thousands of Q-style computer hackers and analysts will be recruited to join the digital warfare centre in Samlesbury, Lancashire.

The move is part of Boris Johnson’s commitment to levelling up after the Tory’s broke through Labour’s so-called “red wall”.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the new National Cyber Force HQ will launch “offensive” cyber attacks against “hostile states”.

The agency will be jointly run by the Ministry of Defence, MI6 and GCHQ and will tackle daily attacks on critical infrastructure.

Mr Wallace said: “Some foreign states are waging cyber warfare on us every single day.

“And we have a right under international law and among ourselves to defend ourselves.

“We will defend ourselves from cyber warfare if that warfare is dangerous, corrupting, or damaging.

“And one of the ways you can do that is to dismantle the tools that are used against you.

“For example, if a hostile state is using a server to deploy ransomware against you, or spyware, or using disinformation, you could use offensive cyber to deal with those servers.

“We will be one of the very, very few nations in the world with that scale.”

Mr Wallace, 51, said the new spy base would help transform the nearby old mill towns of Bolton, Burnley and Preston.

The £5billion funding will be injected over the next decade.

The National Cyber Force has been operating since April last year and its existence was only formally made public by the PM in November.

Mr Wallace added: “I am hugely proud and enthusiastic to see this happen – not only will it provide a catalyst for investment, but also see our levelling up agenda bring economic stimulus and tangible benefits to this region.”

In 2019, intelligence agency GCHQ opened a hub in Manchester which operates alongside its listening post in Cheltenham and offices in Cornwall and Scarborough.

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