politics

Sweep ministerial offices for bugs after Hancock CCTV leak – Justice Secretary


T

he Justice Secretary said ministers should have their offices swept after leaked CCTV led to Matt Hancock’s downfall.

Robert Buckland said on Monday that ministers and civil servants need a “safe space” in which to work because they handle sensitive information.

He said CCTV was a “factor of daily life” but there was a “wider issue of concern” that inappropriate coverage of sensitive matters could be used by those who “wish us ill” such as unfriendly governments.

Mr Buckland revealed that he had asked officials if he had CCTV in his own office on Friday – the day stills Mr Hancock were first revealed.

The Secretary of State old Sky News: “I don’t think so. I’ve never seen any camera facilities. I’m sure that many of my colleagues will be asking the same question and making sure that the offices are swept just in case there are unauthorised devices in there that could be a national security breach. I think that’s the sensible thing to do.”

He said he expected to hear answers about his own office “later today” and added: “I think frankly sweeps should be conducted regularly – particularly where sensitive material is being handled.”

Later, on Times Radio, he suggested police or security services should investigate the leak, describing it as an “unauthorised sharing of data”.MI5 is set to consult the government on the apparent leak of CCTV footage in Hancock’s office, according to the Times.

Former Tory security minister Baroness Neville-Jones said she thought the leak was “rather surprising”.

Baroness Neville-Jones, who also reached the most senior levels of the diplomatic service, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Indeed, I do wonder about it.

“Normally, certainly when I was still in the service, ministerial offices and senior offices were swept. That’s to say, experts came along and made sure that there was nothing interfering with privacy and confidentiality and there was no bugging that was taking place.

“So, it’s rather surprising that the ministerial office wasn’t protected in this way. How long has it been there? Who put it there?”

The Mail on Sunday reported that the video was obtained by an employee at the department of health who approached an “anti-lockdown campaigner” on Instagram asking them to help them place it with a newspaper.



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