There are concerns in Westminster that bugging devices around Whitehall could be the cause of government leaks.
A security review has been launched after CCTV footage of Matt Hancock breaking Covid regulations with his aide Gina Coladangelo was leaked to The Sun.
At a glance: 5 key points
– Peers in the House of Lords discussed security concerns over CCTV cameras and other bugging devices in Westminster
– Peers questioned whether there was a “systematic intrusion into ministerial offices”
– Matt Hancock has said he was not aware of the camera in his office which captured his embrace with Gina Coladangelo
– A government investigation into the how the CCTV footage was acquired by The Sun will look into the use of surveillance and bugging devices
– Government has said it does not believe there were any “covert concerns” relating to Hancock’s case.
What’s been said?
Lord Howard: “I make no comment on Matt Hancock but what happened to him does raise questions.
“Could the minister say whether the recent filming of the secretary of state for health in his office is part of a systematic intrusion into ministerial offices?”
“It’s quite possible that highly-classified documents might be photographed.”
“Are there bugging devices as well as cameras located in ministerial offices, and could that explain why there are so many leaks from all sorts of Government departments – senior, junior, wherever?
“Might that indicate that there are a lot of recording devices all over the place. The mind boggles.”
Responding to Lord Howard, Cabinet Office minister Lord True said: “He reflects a concern that has been expressed across the House, both about the potential security implications of such devices being in ministerial offices, the capture and use of such material, and how wide that might be.
“That has been commented on by a number of noble lords and I’m sure those responsible for the investigation, which is being supported by the Government security group, will take those points into account.”
Matt Hancock resigned as Health Secretary last weekend after footage emerged of him engaging in an affair in his ministerial office with Department of Health and Social Care non-executive director, Gina Coladangelo.
Coladangelo, who is also married, is a university friend of Hancock’s and was brought into government last year in a paid scrutiny role.
Both Hancock’s former department and parliament itself have launched reviews relating to revelations.
The incident has raised a number of questions, from the hiring process which saw a minister’s close personal friend awarded a taxpayer-funded role, to whether there have been any other conflicts of interests arising from the case.
Matt Hancock was replaced as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care by former Chancellor, Sajid Javid.