In the letter, published on Friday, they argued that legislating against fraud committed through paid-for advertisement had “strong cross party support” and that not doing so would result in “potentially large financial losses to the public”.

The committees demanded answers from Johnson on why the government’s policy has so far “been to legislate against user-generated fraud but not fraud committed through paid-for advertisements”.

In May, the government announced measures to tackle some online scams in its online safety bill but stopped short of including fraud via advertising, emails or cloned websites.

After initial criticisms of the bill’s coverage, Johnson said at the Liaison Committee on July 7 he was “more than happy to look at it” if bodies felt it was “in some way inadequate”.

Labour MP and chair of the Work and pensions committee, Stephen Timms, argued that Johnson’s offer to “to look again at…

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