Understanding Technology

Hopeless Hancock gone but social distancing of least concern

The explosive footage of Matt Hancock in a passionate clinch with an aide has resulted in his resignation. However, investigations are underway as cabinet ministers question how a camera came to be concealed in a smoke alarm in his ministerial office.

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Hopeless Hancock gone but social distancing of least concern
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Following the publication of photographs and video showing him in a clinch with an aide, Matt Hancock resigned as Health Secretary over the weekend.

Hancock took to Twitter to reveal that he had decided to hand in his resignation to the Prime Minister, saying he could not continue in his role after breaking Covid-19 rules that he himself had set. His resignation came after backlash from the opposition and the public over Boris Johnson’s decision not to sack him.

The footage showed Hancock in a passionate clinch with Gina Coladangelo, a government aide he has known since his days at university.

However, concern fast emerged among cabinet ministers over how and why a camera was concealed in a smoke alarm within Mr Hancock's ministerial office. This has sparked an investigation by the Metropolitan Police and a sweep of Whitehall for other hidden devices over fears that it could potentially expose government officials to terrorist attacks.

MP and member of the Intelligence and Security Committee, Sir John Hayes, said, "It is not an exaggeration to say that if you can get a camera in, then you can get a bomb into a minister's office. They do not have to be big anymore, but this underlines how serious this security breach is." He added, "This clearly looks as though a secret camera was installed into Matt Hancock’s office which has profound implications."

Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show, another former Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, added his voice to calls for an investigation, highlighting the need for ministers to be able to have frank discussions in confidence.

There are now calls for a sweep of ministerial offices in Whitehall by both police and security services to determine whether any other security breaches have taken place. This includes checking for listening devices that may have been concealed around offices.

Discovery of classified MoD documents at Kent bus stop

Concerns over government security breaches have been further intensified after it emerged that a member of the public had discovered classified Ministry of Defence documents at a bus stop in Kent.

The documents contained details relating to HMS Defender, the British military, and details of Russia's anticipated response to the ship's passage through Ukrainian waters on Wednesday. In addition, there were details relating to the possibility of a military presence from the UK in Afghanistan following the conclusion of the US-led NATO operation.

A separate investigation has now been launched into the discovery of the documents. A spokesperson from the MoD said an employee had reported the loss of the paperwork but that commenting any further would be 'inappropriate’.

Image Credit: the blowup at Unsplash

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