The British government faces embarrassment after the Prime Minister’s policy adviser was caught throwing official papers in park rubbish bins on several occasions.
Oliver Letwin disposed of “sensitive correspondence on terrorism, national security and constituents’ private details” on five occasions in St. James’s Park, just across the road from Downing Street, the Daily Mirror reported.
Letwin is a 55-year-old cabinet minister, a close friend of David Cameron, and has been a Conservative member of parliament since 1997.
This is another blow to the government and, in particular, Cameron after the resignation of his Defence Secretary Liam Fox.
Fox quit after it was revealed that his best man and ex-flat mate had attended meetings with him without being employed by the government. Adam Werritty met the Fox 14 times in about a year in MoD offices. He did not have security clearance, yet he joined Fox in an official visit to Sri Lanka this summer, an incident that the opposition say may have breached the ministerial code.
The new allegations over Letwin claim he got rid of “more than 100 papers” in a “security breach”. One of them reveals how secret service chiefs “failed to get the truth” over how Britain was involved in terrorist rendition and interrogations.
Other papers cover a diverse range of issues, from the European Commission to health, from the Treasury to the police. High level politicians, including the Prime Minister, his deputy and the finance minister are mentioned in the letters.
According to a spokesperson for the minister “Mr. Letwin does some of his Parliamentary and constituency correspondence in the park before going in to work and sometimes disposes of copies of letters there.” He added: “None of these are documents of a sensitive nature.”
Among the letters, there were four from Letwin’s constituents, with their personal details, meaning individuals may have been left exposed to the risk of identity fraud.
The official advice to ministers is that letters should be shredded.
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