A probe into the leaking of CCTV footage that appeared to show former UK health secretary Matt Hancock kissing an adviser has been dropped due to “insufficient evidence”.
Pictures published by The Sun in June 2021 appeared to show the married Cabinet minister in an embrace with aide Gina Coladangelo, at a time when indoor mixing was not permitted under Covid laws.
An investigation by The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) was launched into how the footage was obtained, amid fears of a security breach within the Government.
The regulator said they “had a legal duty to carry out an impartial assessment of the evidence available to determine if there had been a breach of the law.”
Back in June 2021, investigators seized computer equipment following searches at two homes over the leaking of the CCTV footage.
However, the ICO has now dropped the investigation, revealing in a statement that there is “insufficient evidence” to prosecute two people who were suspected of the leak.
Following the probe, the regulator said that the images “were most likely obtained by someone recording the CCTV footage screens with a mobile phone.”
The statement read: “The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has found insufficient evidence to prosecute two people suspected of unlawfully obtaining and disclosing CCTV footage from the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC).
“The leaked CCTV images showed the former secretary of state for health and social Care, Matthew Hancock MP, and his former aide, Gina Coladangelo.
“The regulator launched a criminal investigation after it received a report of a personal data breach from DHSC’s CCTV operator, EMCOR Group plc.
“Given the seriousness of the report and the wider implications it potentially had for the security of information across government, the ICO had a legal duty to carry out an impartial assessment of the evidence available to determine if there had been a breach of the law.
“Forensic analysis revealed that the leaked images were most likely obtained by someone recording the CCTV footage screens with a mobile phone.
“Six phones retrieved during the execution of search warrants did not contain the relevant CCTV footage. After taking legal advice, the ICO concluded that there was insufficient evidence to charge anyone with criminal offences under the Data Protection Act 2018.
“The ICO has therefore closed its criminal investigation.”
Matt Hancock resigned as UK health secretary the day after the footage of the embrace was leaked.
In an open letter to Boris Johnson, he said the Government “owe it to people who have sacrificed so much in this pandemic to be honest when we have let them down”.
It was said the minister hired Coladangelo as an unpaid adviser on a six-month contract in March 2020, before appointing her as a non-executive director at the department.
Former chancellor and home secretary Sajid Javid replaced Hancock as health secretary in June 2021.