Investigators say they have seized computer equipment after searches at two homes over the leaking of CCTV footage that led to Matt Hancock’s downfall as health secretary. 

The Information Commissioner’s Office said two raids were carried out in the south of England today as it investigates an alleged data breach. 

Mr Hancock had to resign from the Cabinet after footage was published of the Conservative MP kissing an aide in his departmental office, in breach of coronavirus rules. Read on for details.

Matt Hancock is caught on camera with Gina Coladangelo

Credit: The Sun

Meanwhile, MPs have been told the so-called "sausage war" between the UK and EU was "not even handbags at dawn" compared to what is coming down the line. 

Aodhan Connolly, from the NI Retail Consortium, claimed the dispute over chilled meats was "peripheral" and that much bigger problems for traders and consumers were anticipated this autumn. 

Read what the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee was told.

NHS Covid app ‘pings’ over half a million in a week

The NHS Covid-19 app has "pinged" more than half a million people in England in one week, with the record figure raising concerns from businesses that vast numbers of staff are being advised to self-isolate. The 520,194 alerts were sent to users of the app in England in the week to July 7, a jump of 46pc from the previous week. It is the highest weekly figure since data was first published in January, with alerts up almost four-fold in the last month. Covid-19 cases in all regions of England are at their highest level in almost six months, according to new data from Public Health England. It comes as more retailers said they will encourage customers and staff to keep wearing masks after July 19.

The quiet signs you could be heading for a stroke

Most of us are familiar with the immediate signs of a stroke, but new research suggests the warning signs could appear long before it actually happens. In a study of almost 15,000 participants, researchers found stroke sufferers show certain signs of cognitive decline up to 10 years before they are taken ill. As someone in the UK suffers a stroke every three minutes, read on for the quiet signs you need to listen to.

At a glance: Coronavirus evening briefing

  • Long Covid | More than 200 symptoms including hallucinations
  • Travel latest | ‘If we follow the data, US should open’ says Virgin boss
  • Mapped | European countries with the lowest (and highest) rates
  • Summer catch-up | Classes canned as teachers ‘need a break’
  • Indian-made | Month-long wait for Oxford jabs approval in Europe

PS: We are asking Front Page readers like you to let us know what you will be doing differently after July 19 and what you will be thankful for. Email us your thoughts in 60 words with the subject line "Front Page" to [email protected] with your name, age and where you live.

Also in the news: Today’s other headlines

Sugar and salt tax | Boris Johnson has said he is "not attracted" to plans for a new sugar and salt tax, amid fears it could hit the wallets of people on lower incomes. Read how the Government has sought to distance itself from proposals, by the head of the National Food Strategy, Henry Dimbleby, who is the founder of the fast food chain Leon.

  • EU membership | Poland stokes fears of exit as court defies reforms
  • South Africa | Militias and roadblocks last line of defence from looting
  • Peter de Vries | Dutch crime reporter dies after being shot in the head
  • Overcharging NHS | Drug makers fined for raising prices 10,000pc
  • ‘Grand Theft Auto’ | Stolen car drives along railway tracks in chase

Around the world: Freak floods ravage Europe

At least 42 people have died and dozens are missing after freak storms triggered flash floods which have swept away homes and devastated parts of western Germany and Belgium. Late last night, six houses collapsed in the town of Schuld bei Adenau in the Eifel district near Germany’s western borders. Authorities said they were unsure of how many are missing in Eifel, but estimates are that at least 50 people are unaccounted for. Watch the apocalyptic waters washing away cars.

Thursday interview

Nigel Owens: ‘TMO is ruining rugby and I hope to become a father’

Nigel Owens on his farm in Wales with his partner Barrie

Credit: Tom Wren/SWNS

Test referee-turned-farmer Nigel Owens will join the Telegraph as a columnist from next week analysing the Lions’ tour of South Africa – and is hoping to complete his new-found contentment by becoming a father

Read the full interview

Comment and analysis

  • Annabel Fenwick Elliott | UK would be first in line for its own red list
  • Ryan Bourne | Culture war extremists are obscuring reality of racism
  • Michael Howard | Wrong to abolish English Votes for English Laws
  • James Hall | Era of dirt-cheap music streaming at an end – about time
  • Ben Lawrence | Public art is no good if it doesn’t involve the people

Editor’s choice

  • Cocaine, jibbing and no regrets | Anatomy of a thoroughly modern football yob
  • Paris, 13th District, Cannes review | A sultry love story – and the birth of a new star?
  • First-time buyers | Want to buy your first home in the South? It is now ‘impossible’
  • Business and money briefing

    Cyber security | The City watchdog the FCA has lost track of more than £300,000 worth of computer kit, sparking fears that sensitive financial data could be falling into the hands of criminal gangs. Details here.

    • Banking | Revolut now worth £24bn in British fintech record
    • Chinese investment | Shell starts selling power from giant battery
    • On top of markets | Live stocks and shares updates 24 hours a day

    Sport briefing

    Lions tour | Marcus Smith will make his British and Irish Lions debut against the Stormers in Cape Town on Saturday, while Alun Wyn Jones makes a dramatic return to the bench. See the team. Charlie Morgan analyses how South Africa A shocked the Lions. Austin Healey thinks South Africa will win the series 3-0 and wants them in the Six Nations.

    • The Open | Oosthuizen reaches six-under to take sole lead – updates
    • 007 inspiration | How James Bond conquered Royal St George’s
    • Tour de France | Pogacar wins stage 18 to all but seal the Tour

    Three things for tonight

    • Watch | Our NHS: A Hidden History, BBC One, 9pm
    • Podcast | Planet Normal: Mask wearing will ‘drop off’ in rural areas
    • Play | Telegraph Puzzles featuring today’s Crossword and Sudoku

    And finally… for this evening’s downtime

    A pound for a poo | It is common for children to be paid for helping out around the house, but should we be shelling out for the essentials too? Debbi Marco examines whether you should bribe your kids to do the basics – and the potential long-term effects.

    If you want to receive twice-daily briefings like this by email, sign up to the Front Page newsletter here . For two-minute audio updates, try The Briefing – on podcasts, smart speakers and WhatsApp.