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Houses searched after CCTV image of Matt Hancock embracing aide leaked

Houses searched after CCTV image of Matt Hancock embracing aide leaked
Computers from two homes have been seized

Two residential properties in the south of England have been searched by the Information Commissioner’s Office after CCTV images of Matt Hancock embracing an aide in his Whitehall office were leaked.

The organisation said personal computer equipment and electronic devices at the addresses were seized as part of its probe into alleged breaches of the Data Protection Act.

Director of investigations at the Information Commissioner’s Office Steve Eckersley said: “It’s vital that all people, which includes the employees of government departments and members of the public who interact with them, have trust and confidence in the protection of their personal data.

“In these circumstances, the ICO aims to react swiftly and effectively to investigate where there is a risk that other people may have unlawfully obtained personal data.

“We have an ongoing investigation and will not be commenting further until it is concluded.”

The investigation was launched in response to CCTV images from Mr Hancock’s parliamentary office being leaked to The Sun newspaper, which published them last month.

The images showed the then health secretary embracing and kissing his taxpayer-funded adviser Gina Coladangelo.

Ms Coladangelo, who was previously a director at lobbying firm Luther Pendragon, met Mr Hancock at Oxford University where they became close friends over a shared passion for student radio.

She is married to the owner of high street retailer Oliver Bonas, where she is the marketing and communications director.

Ms Coladangelo was handed a £15,000-a-year role as non-executive director at the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) in September last year.

There is no public record of the appointment, that was made in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, but it is listed on her LinkedIn page.

Mr Hancock was criticised over the appointment, and accused of cronyism on a number of occasions during the pandemic due to his personal links with businesses that were awarded NHS contracts.

The affair led him to stand down from his position, before he was replaced by former chancellor Sajid Javid.