Virgin Trains did NOT breach Jeremy Corbyn’s rights by publishing CCTV of him looking for a seat, watchdog rules


The company was embroiled in a public spat with the Labour boss after he claimed its train was too full to get a seat

The information watchdog today ruled that the Labour leader should have expected the train company to fight back when he picked a public row with it.

Jeremy Corbyn looking for a seat on a Virgin train

Virgin has been cleared of breaching data laws by sharing this CCTV image of Jeremy Corbyn looking for a seat

The firm rowed with Mr Corbyn after he claimed that he was on a “ram-packed” train which was so crowded he could not find a seat for hours.

The Labour boss filmed a video of himself sitting on the floor of the train from London and called for the railways to be nationalised.

Virgin responded by publishing CCTV which proved that there were many empty seats at the time.

The Information Commissioner’s Office launched a probe into claims the firm had broken the law on protection by distributing images of Mr Corbyn.

Mr Corbyn in a seat

Another image shows Mr Corbyn, towards the back of the picture, sitting in a seat

But today, it ruled that Virgin had a right to defend itself against the leader’s claims.

Enforcement boss Steve Eckersley said: “Virgin had a legitimate interest, namely correcting what it deemed to be misleading news reports that were potentially damaging to its reputation and commercial interests.

“It would not have been possible to achieve Virgin’s legitimate interests without publishing Mr Corbyn’s image.

“Virgin could only show that there were empty seats on Mr Corbyn’s journey if they showed Mr Corbyn on that journey.”

He also pointed out that the Labour boss had already shared footage of himself during the journey, and could not have been surprised by Virgin’s public response.

Mr Corbyn sitting on the floor of the train

Mr Corbyn was pictured sitting on the floor of the train because he said he couldn’t get a seat

But the company did get a slap on the wrist for showing the faces of three other passengers in the CCTV footage.

Mr Eckersley said: “In order to give its side of the story, Virgin had no reason to publish pictures of anyone else on the train.

“By doing so, it infringed on the privacy of passengers who were simply minding their own business and would not reasonably have expected their pictures to be published.”

Virgin will not face a formal punishment over the breach in data law, but has vowed to toughen up its data handling policies and amend its use of CCTV.

Mr Corbyn changed his story after Virgin released their footage, and said he was looking for two seats together so he could sit next to his wife Laura.

The company said today: “We welcome the ICO’s report which acknowledges the unique nature of the incident, and confirms that no regulatory action is needed.

“We have co-operated fully with the ICO’s investigation and have already implemented the improvements to our procedures that we suggested.”

CCTV shows Jeremy Corbyn sitting in a seat on ‘ram-packed’ Virgin train


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