A data protection breach from an MP's office has left a Hartlepool woman feeling “angry” as she was told over the phone to delete the email that was mistakenly sent to her.

The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, received an email from Hartlepool MP Jill Mortimer on the February 7 of this year containing highly sensitive material about a person she did not know.

The recipient received the reply after first contacting Jill Mortimer on January 27, asking her MP why she had supposedly not attended several Hartlepool council meetings.

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The woman then contacted Jill Mortimer’s office to rectify the breach and claims she was told on multiple occasions to “just delete” the email and told she would be in “serious trouble” should she not comply.

The Northern Echo: Jill Mortimer with Boris Johnson in 2021.Jill Mortimer with Boris Johnson in 2021. (Image: THE NORTHERN ECHO)

Speaking exclusively to The Northern Echo, the constituent admitted she felt “intimidated” throughout the ordeal.

She said: “I’m still angry that someone’s details have come to me. I can’t explain it. It’s an awful feeling knowing that somebody out there is probably oblivious to what has gone on.

“I have no trust, no confidence. I would never go to them for anything or ask them for anything ever again.

“I would never trust them again, ever.”

After receiving no update from Jill Mortimer’s office for several months, the woman finally received a letter in early May from the Conservative MP, apologising to the woman for the ordeal.

Despite this, the woman still feels upset about the way she claims she was treated by the MP's  staff following the breach.

She said: “For something to happen, and for them to be so matter of fact about it, it’s just awful.

“I felt like I was being told what I could and could not do.”

The Northern Echo: Jill Motrimer with former Home Secretary Priti Patel in 2021.Jill Motrimer with former Home Secretary Priti Patel in 2021. (Image: THE NORTHERN ECHO)

Since the ordeal, The Northern Echo understands that the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) was notified and investigated the breach, putting measures in place to prevent further incidents.

The Northern Echo contacted the office for Jill Mortimer regarding the data protection breach.

In a statement, the Hartlepool MP said:

“My team have worked diligently over the last two years helping hundreds of people in our town. During that time, they have always been professional, empathetic and caring.

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"This was the only time an email has been sent to the wrong recipient and immediately the error was found, an apology was given to the erroneous recipient, along with a request to delete the email in accordance with the GDPR statement on the bottom of it. The staff member then self-referred themselves to the Information Commissioner for investigation.  

"My office deals with a great many items of correspondence on a daily basis, and this recipient’s email was in our system from previous correspondences with them, sadly a single click placed their email address on to the send line in error. Systems have been put in place to ensure it cannot happen again.  

"I remain confident that my team are at all times courteous and helpful.”