A weekly newspaper in west London has forced Business Secretary Vince Cable into making an ‘unreserved’apology after publishing an exclusive story about confidential documents being left in bins left outside his constituency office.
The Richmond & Twickenham Times ran today’s story after an anonymous ‘outraged’member of the public brought ‘reams’of evidence into the newspaper’s office, including unshredded confidential and personal letters from the MP.
The Newsquest title said the whistleblower ‘took it upon himself to bring the issue of worrying data protection practices to the fore after seeing it happen time and again since the 2010 elections”.
He told the paper: ‘What with all the publicity about breach of privacy by journalists, and also that some lady journalists had been there [to Dr Cable’s constituency office] and then they complained about these journalists saying they were breaching their confidence, I just thought it’s all so hypocritical for them to condemn Murdoch.
‘I just thought it was the pot calling the kettle black.’
The story was widely picked up by the national press this morning after Cable issued a statement saying: ‘A system is in place for shredding of confidential files and for safeguarding case work. Nonetheless, some correspondence which should have been protected was placed in bags for recycling outside the office.
“I apologise unreservedly to all my constituents for what has clearly been an unacceptable breach of their privacy.”
He added: ‘Both I and my constituency team are dedicated to meeting the highest standards for the people of Twickenham. I am very sorry that in this instance they were not met.”