Could Darling/Brown be accused of being “less than frank”?
Two main articles this morning – a competition devised and operated by the site’s regular stand-in editor, Paul Maggs, on the Australian general election and the ongoing implications for the government of the missing data affair.
Amongst the acres of coverage of the missing data CDs there are two stories which have the potential to cause serious problems for both Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown. For they suggest that the issue might be much bigger than the carefully crafted comments that both men have made to the house of commons.
The Times says that possibly two more CDs that could leave thousands of people open to identity fraud have been reported missing while in transit from the tax offices in Washington, Tyne & Wear. These contain national insurance numbers together with dates of birth.
And the Guardian is amongst a number of papers to report that “..the Conservatives said they had been informed of an email sent by a senior business manager and copied to an assistant director, authorising the dispatch of the full database, including addresses, to the NAO because it would be too difficult and costly to separate the most sensitive personal information.”
If these two reports prove to be correct then it could undermine the Darling-Brown strategy of presenting this as a single incident caused by the actions of a junior member of staff. After all the incident happened in mid-October and there should have been the time to get fuller information.
A charge that the Prime Minister and/or the Chancellor were less than frank in their comments to the house would be dynamite.
We’ll have to see how this pans out but the very nature of a mega-story like this is that it can bring other similar incidents to the fore. Brown’s big problem is that he was chancellor for a decade and lots of things happened on his watch.
The spread betting markets on the make-up of the next house of commons have seen much more movement from Labour to the Tories. Spreadfair has CON 289-292: LAB 276-280: LD 48.8-51.5 seats.
Australian Election competition Please use preceding thread.