Government officials still haven’t learned their lessons about telephoto lenses and sensitive documents.
After Bob Quick, once Britain’s most senior counterterrorism officer, lost his job after being snapped in 2009 holding a document marked “Secret”, detailing MI5’s plans to foil an al-Qaida terrorist plot, you would think everyone would be given folders for their papers.
But in 2010, Danny Alexander was pictured with a copy of the government’s spending review outlining up to 500,000 public sector job cuts; in 2011, Caroline Flint inadvertently revealed government fears of a housing crisis; and Andrew Mitchell, latterly of the Plebgate scandal, was photographed in August 2011 with documents which revealed Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai’s plans to step down.
The latest papers-on-show blunder comes from the Liberal Democrats’ chief strategist Ryan Coetzee, who was yesterday photographed holding nothing less than the outline for the party’s 2015 election manifesto.
Amongst the information on show was the pledge to “balance the budget by 2018”, a full two years ahead of Labour’s target, a pledge to raise the tax allowance from £10,000 to £12,500 with the shortfall made up from greater taxation of the rich.
The party would also bring in a mansion tax for properties worth more than £2m, would give under-21s two thirds off bus fares, and want to see GPs availability increase to 7 days a week from 7am until 7pm.
Immigration is also on the Lib Dems’ hit list. There would be English tests for all new job seekers’ allowance claimants with penalties for underperformance. In addition the document says the party would “bring back proper border checks so we know who’s coming in and leaving the UK, allowing the Government to identify and deport people who overstay their visa.”
A Liberal Democrat spokesman said: Lib Dem spokesman said: “The fact that the key sentence on this document is ‘only the Liberal Democrats will create opportunity for everyone by building a stronger economy and a fairer society’ shouldn’t surprise anyone,” the Telegraph reports.