The Information Commissioner’s Office closed their investigation into the Department for Health CCTV leak that saw Hancock’s snog with then-aide Gina Coladangelo splashed on the front page of The Sun. The ICO announced this afternoon that their investigation had found “insufficient evidence to prosecute two people suspected of unlawfully obtaining and disclosing CCTV footage from the Department for Health and Social Care”. They shouldn’t have been investigating anyway…
“Forensic analysis revealed that the leaked images were most likely obtained by someone recording the CCTV footage screens with a mobile phone.
Six phones retrieved during the execution of search warrants did not contain the relevant CCTV footage. After taking legal advice, the ICO concluded that there was insufficient evidence to charge anyone with criminal offences under the Data Protection Act 2018.
The ICO has therefore closed its criminal investigation.”
The Sun’s Harry Cole had previously accused the ICO investigation of being a further move along the “systematic decay of freedom of the press”. All kiss, no tell…
NGN Limited, The Sun’s parent company, has filed their accounts. The highlights are:
By Guido’s calculations that means the newspaper made a loss of some £2 million before paying the legacy legal bills…
The Sun’s editor Victoria Newton has emailed staff with her take on the results:
One of the things that has been tantalising the Westminster politico-media nexus is who in the media attended a Downing Street party. James Slack, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of The Sun, was formerly Downing Street’s Director of Communications. Any coverage or lack of coverage of partygate by The Sun has therefore been seen by others through the prism of his current and previous roles. It is fair to say that Slack, for obvious reasons, has definitely held back on coming forward with the story that is the front page scoop in The Telegraph this morning…
Under the byline “Sun reporter” this is how the paper reported (online only) on one of its own this morning:
One of the parties was held for his former director of communications James Slack, while the other bid farewell to one of the PM’s personal photographers.
No10 confirmed a speech was made at the former but did not comment on the photographer’s leaving do.
A spokesperson said: “On this individual’s last day he gave a farewell speech to thank each team for the work they had done to support him, both those who had to be in the office for work and on a screen for those working from home.”
Mr Slack today said: “I wish to apologise unreservedly for the anger and hurt caused. This event should not have happened at the time that it did. I am deeply sorry, and take full responsibility.”It comes after Boris apologised on Wednesday for attending a party at No. 10 in May 2020.
Mr Slack is now Deputy Editor-in-Chief of The Sun.
The Sun of course has already been fingered for having held its own office Christmas Party during lockdown. Shame to miss this scoop though…
Newly-returned shadow frontbencher Wes Streeting has a star showing in The Sun today off the back of Labour’s new attack line that kids from the poorest parts of Britain are twice as likely to be mugged than their posher peers. This is far from a new media strategy from Streeting who has often defended speaking to The Sun in the face of virtue signalling left-wing Tweeters.
Yep. Voters read the Sun and we absolutely want to talk to them.— Wes Streeting MP (@wesstreeting) August 2, 2021
In 2016 Wes proffered a longer defence of his interactions with the paper:
“Refusing to engage with the Sun because of disagreements with their editorial positions is self-defeating: Labour won’t win elections by talking to ourselves or by ducking debates”
While Wes’s position hasn’t changed, his 2016 statement came during his pre-shadow cabinet career, and before Southside’s communications team dictated what shadow ministers say to whom. During Sir Keir’s leadership election, he proudly boasted a Liverpool audience, “I certainly won’t be giving any interviews to The Sun during the course of this campaign.” His hardline position was applauded by those in and out the room, with Ash Sarkar commending the then-frontrunner:
Exceptionally strong answer from Keir Starmer on media bias and a vow never to give an interview to The Sun.— Ash Sarkar (@AyoCaesar) January 18, 2020
Co-conspirators will have to guess whether Starmer’s previous Sun hate was playing to an audience or whether Labour’s new Sun flirting is a conscious concession to common sense. Labour’s swathe of new Blairite advisers and spinners in recent weeks will surely have changed a few attitudes…
A casual reading of the note pictured above, taken from the footer of a recent Guardian article, could give the reader the impression that the Guardian was responsible for the undoubted scoop of the year. According to The Guardian’s begging appeal, the revelation of Hancock’s extra-marital office shenanigans
“… once again highlights the urgent need for independent news organisations like the Guardian to scrutinise public figures and hold them to the highest standards.”
Except it doesn’t, because the Guardian had nothing to do with the scoop, they just followed up The Sun’s front page a day later. The Guardian’s too busy running paid for advertorials dictated by billionaire Bill Gates to be getting scoops. As one Sun executive quipped to Guido, the last scoop he read in the Guardian was about “quinoa shortages in Bolivia“.
Starmer’s sacked PPS Carolyn Harris – even according to allies of Starmer – was “a bit of a liability”, so it is no surprise she has had to go. Or as a statement released by Starmer’s office to The Times put it, Harris said she was “stepping back from this role”, after she was asked to justify what The Times delicately described as “baseless rumours” she was said to be spreading about Angela Rayner. Guido’s not convinced the rumours are baseless.
Last October The Sun reported Angela Rayner had grown close to her Momentum backing leadership campaign manager Sam Tarry, under the headline “Labour deputy Angela Rayner strikes up close friendship with married MP after split from husband”. The Sun euphemistically said “Angela Rayner has struck up a close friendship” with Sam Tarry. In return Rayner helped Tarry win the Ilford South seat, going out of her way to campaign for him to successfully get into parliament during the 2019 general election:
Soon after Rayner gave the newly-elected Tarry a position which would mean he would work with her as “the Deputy Leader’s Parliamentary Lead on Campaigns & Organisation.” Carolyn Harris saw this as a dangerous opportunity for a Momentum hardliner to organise within the PLP and help rig candidate selections for the left. Negative briefing from Carolyn Harris about Angela Rayner and Sam Tarry therefore combined the personal and the political.
When The Sun asked if Rayner and Tarry were having an intimate relationship, they got the reply “Any suggestion that she has made any appointment based upon anything other than professional merit, experience and ability will be considered highly defamatory.” Which is of course a denial that she gave his a career leg-up, not that he got a leg-over…