Matt Hancock’s leaked Whatsapps concerning the Covid-19 pandemic should not a topic for a knowledge breach investigation “at this stage”, a high regulator has mentioned.
Journalist Isabel Oakeshott, who labored with former well being secretary Hancock on his ebook, Pandemic Diaries, handed over hundreds of Whatsapp messages to the Telegraph.
The paper printed claims together with that Hancock rejected care dwelling take a look at recommendation and that then-education secretary Gavin Williamson mentioned lecturers needed an “excuse” to not work.
However watchdog the Data Commissioner’s Workplace (ICO) – which displays information safety regulation compliance, together with GDPR – mentioned the disclosures weren’t a “matter” for them.
A spokesperson mentioned: “At this stage we don’t see this as a matter for the ICO however there are questions across the circumstances on which departing members of presidency retain and subsequently use official info which should be thought-about by organisations such because the Cupboard Workplace.”
In an announcement right this moment, Hancock mentioned: “I’m massively dissatisfied and unhappy on the huge betrayal and breach of belief by Isabel Oakeshott.”
He added: “There may be completely no public curiosity case for this big breach.”
Hancock mentioned his working relationship with Oakeshott was based mostly on “authorized confidentiality” and “a course of authorized by the Cupboard Workplace” however he mentioned she had “damaged that belief”.
Oakeshott additionally claimed the MP had despatched her a “menacing” message upfront of the leak – which he refuted, however mentioned he had informed her the leak was a “huge mistake”.
The ICO spokesperson mentioned there have been exemptions round journalism and public curiosity points.
They mentioned protection “increase[s] questions concerning the dangers that the usage of Whatsapp and different personal channels convey, notably round transparency.
“Final 12 months, the ICO known as for a assessment into the usage of personal messaging apps inside authorities, and we might reiterate that decision right this moment.
“Public officers ought to be capable of present their workings, by means of correct recording of choices and the FoI Act, to make sure belief in these selections is secured and classes learnt for the long run.”