Information Commissioner's Office: No, Virgin Trains didn't break the law when it published CCTV of Jeremy Corbyn

Emma Haslett
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Corbyn claimed he couldn't find a seat on the service

Remember that time Jeremy Corbyn either decided or was forced to (depending on your point of view) sit on the floor on a Virgin train between London and Newcastle?

Well, it turns out Virgin Trains, which hit back at Corbyn's complaints that he couldn't get a seat by publishing CCTV of the Labour leader apparently strolling past dozens of empty seats, didn't break the law by doing so.

Today the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) ruled it was fine for the company to correct Corbyn's accusations, which were potentially damaging to its reputation, by publishing the video.

However, it added that Virgin Trains did break the law when it published images of other passengers on the same train service.

"Virgin should have taken better care to obscure the faces of other people on the train. Publication of their images was unfair and a breach of the first principle of the Data Protection Act," it said today.

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Corbyn caused a storm in August last year when he claimed he had been forced to sit on the floor of a Virgin East Coast train.

At the time he lamented:

This is a problem that many passengers face every day, commuters and long-distance travellers.

Today this train is completely ram-packed. The staff are absolutely brilliant, working really hard to help everybody. The reality is there are not enough trains, we need more of them – and they’re also incredibly expensive.

But Corbyn hadn't reckoned on Virgin founder Richard Branson, who hit back with a tweet:

According to Virgin the footage, which shows Corbyn walking past several empty, unreserved seats in coaches H and F, was shot seven minutes after the train left Euston station.

"We have to take issue with the idea that Mr Corbyn wasn’t able to be seated on the service, as this clearly wasn’t the case," said the company at the time.

"We’d encourage Jeremy to book ahead next time he travels with us, both to reserve a seat and to ensure he gets our lowest fares, and we look forward to welcoming him onboard again." Ooof.

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