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Oliver Letwin MP addressing the Conservative Party Conference last week.
Oliver Letwin MP addressing the Conservative Party Conference last week.
Image: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

British cabinet minister caught dumping documents in public park

A spokeswoman for Oliver Letwin MP says that he does some of his parliamentary and constituency correspondence in the park before heading to the office.
Oct 14th 2011, 1:52 PM 450 5

BRITISH CABINET minister Oliver Letwin has been caught throwing work documents into bins at a public park in London, but will not do it again, according to his office.

The Daily Mirror reports that Letwin was seen throwing documents into bins at St James’s Park on at least five occasions and that some of those documents included papers on al-Qaeda, letters from the Intelligence and Security Committee, and some constituents’ personal details.

Letwin has responsibility for coordinating government policy.

Responding to the report today, Letwin’s office acknowledged that he had disposed of the documents in this manner, but insisted that none were government documents or contained sensitive material.

A spokesperson for the minister said that Letwin “does some of his parliamentary and constituency correspondence in the park before going to work and sometimes disposes of copies of letters there”.

However, he will not be discarding correspondence in public bins in future, they added.

A spokeswoman for Prime Minister David Cameron said the Cabinet Office has launched an investigation into the nature of the discarded documents.

She added that it is not thought Letwin handled sensitive material while working in the park, saying: “Most of the business which Mr Letwin does in the park is constituency based.”

The Information Commissioner’s Office is investigating the reports to see if data protection rules were breached.

“Keeping personal data secure is a key principle of the Data Protection Act and the ICO takes any breach of that principle very seriously,” the ICO said in a statement this afternoon.

- Additional reporting by the AP

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Susan Ryan

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