No one will be prosecuted for leaking CCTV footage of disgraced former health secretary Matt Hancock breaking Covid rules by kissing his ward employee in his office.
The British data watchdog has found ‘insufficient evidence’ to prosecute two people suspected of unlawfully obtaining and disclosing the images of the Ministry of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
The Information Commissioner’s Office said it had now closed its criminal investigation, which last year saw two houses in the south of England being robbed and computers seized.
The ICO launched its investigation after receiving a complaint about a data breach from the DHSC’s CCTV operator, EMCOR Group Plc.
The watchdog said in a statement today: “Given the seriousness of the report and the wider implications it could have for the security of information within government, the ICO had a legal duty to conduct an unbiased assessment of what is available.” evidence to determine whether there had been a violation of the law.
“Forensic analysis showed that the leaked images were most likely obtained by someone who recorded the CCTV screens with a mobile phone.
‘Six phones recovered during the execution of search warrants do not contain the relevant CCTV footage.
“After taking legal advice, the ICO concluded that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute anyone under the Personal Data Protection Act 2018.”
The leaked CCTV footage showed Matt Hancock passionately hugging his Department of Health and Social Care department employee Gina Coladangelo last year.
Mr Hancock has since described breaking coronavirus guidelines because he “fell in love” with Ms Coladangelo.
The leak of CCTV footage and footage of Mr Hancock passionately embracing Gina Coladangelo – a non-executive director at DHSC – led to his resignation as health minister last June.
He admitted to breaking Covid rules that he himself helped design.
The Sun newspaper, which published the leaked CCTV footage, labeled the ICO raids last July as an “outrageous abuse” that could deter whistleblowers from coming forward.
Mr Hancock, who was married to his wife Martha when the CCTV footage was leaked, has since described breaking coronavirus guidelines because he “fell in love”.
“That’s something that was completely out of my control and of course I regret the pain that caused that and the very, very, very public nature … but I fell in love with someone,” he recently told the Diary Of A CEO podcast .
During the podcast interview, the former minister wanted to emphasize that he and Mrs Coladangelo had not had ‘casual sex’.
Despite leaving government for violating his Covid rules, Mr Hancock has shown his support for Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak to remain in office after the Prime Minister and Chancellor were fined for a birthday party at number 10 in June 2020.
Mr Hancock posted on Twitter yesterday: ‘The Prime Minister and Chancellor have received the big calls during the pandemic and are now leading the fight against Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine
“They have rightly apologized. We must now move forward and continue to deliver for people.’
A DHSC spokesperson said: “We take note of the outcome of the ICO’s investigation and will continue to work with them to learn lessons from this incident.
“We take the security of our staff, our systems and our estates very seriously.
“Since this incident, we have been working with security specialists across the government to review procedures and will continue to monitor them.”