The government will open an internal investigation into how CCTV footage of Matt Hancock was leaked, a cabinet minister said.
Northern Ireland Foreign Secretary Brandon Lewis said the Department of Health and Welfare (DHSC) will be trying to find out how the footage was released as former cabinet ministers said they never had cameras in their offices.
The CCTV leak led to Hancock’s resignation as health minister on Saturday after exposing him in a hug with advisor Gina Coladangelo last month – violating his own coronavirus rules.
Hancock had no idea the camera existed in his office, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Asked about the leak on Sky News’ Trevor Phillips On Sunday, Lewis said, “It’s something we need to get to the bottom of.
“What happens in government departments can rightly be sensitive and important.
“So, yeah, I know the Department of Health will be pushing this as an internal investigation.”
It comes despite Downing Street refusing to comment on Friday whether an investigation will be opened.
Lewis also told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show that the investigation team will be investigating the problem “across the government,” adding, “I have to say that I always think it is best to assume that whatever you say or put in writing is reported somewhere. “
Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt told the program it was “totally unacceptable” for ministers to be filmed in their offices.
The Chair of the Commons Health Committee said: “It is totally unacceptable for security reasons that ministers are filmed in their own offices without their knowledge.
“And there will be questions that our intelligence services want to examine very, very carefully.”
He added that there was “another problem” – ministers’ ability to have private conversations that would enable them to make the right decisions without being spied on.
Former Cabinet Ministers Alan Johnson and Rory Stewart said there had never been cameras in their offices during their reigns.
Johnson told Trevor Phillips on Sunday, “I never could understand why there was a camera in the Secretary of State’s office.
“When I was in my office as Minister of Health or in one of the other five cabinet positions, there was never a camera.”
Stewart, who was secretary for international development from May to July 2019, said in a tweet: “I definitely didn’t know there were cameras in one of my ministerial offices (in fact, I was told – when I asked if there were cameras – that there were there were no cameras in my office in DfiD). “
He added, “If it were a department camera – pointed at the door perhaps for security reasons – then it would be seen by security officers.
“Someone installing it would have some challenges – security badges, doors, access to the ministerial office, etc.”