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