PM’s ‘right-hand man’ agrees to take more care of constituents’ data
Oliver Letwin, MP for West Dorset and the Minister of State at the Cabinet Office, has said he will stop throwing letters and emails from constituents in public bins after getting a slap on the wrists from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)
Letwin was rumbled by the Daily Mirror, who reported that he had been seen throwing important letters into bins in St James’ Park, near the Houses of Parliament.
According to the Mirror Letwin – described by the Mirror as PM David Cameron’s right-hand man – was seen on five separate occasions, "throwing away sensitive correspondence on terrorism, national security and constituents’ private details."
The ICO said his actions constituted a breach of the Data Protection Act and that he had signed a "written commitment" to ensure any documents containing personal information would be disposed of in a secure manner.
"Constituents entrust their Member of Parliament with all sorts of personal information and should never expect the details of the concerns they’ve raised in confidence to end up in a park bin for anyone to see," said Christopher Graham, Information Commissioner. "It is clear that Mr Letwin has learned from this incident and we’re pleased that he has co-operated fully."
"It is fortunate that most of the information he discarded was not of a particularly sensitive nature and was therefore unlikely to cause substantial distress to his constituents. But if we receive any further reports or complaints about Mr Letwin’s conduct in this area then we will consider taking more formal action," he added.
"I’m sure this case will also prompt other MPs to review their handling of personal data to ensure they’re doing all they can to keep it secure," Graham added.