Friday, 28 November 2008

The Leaky Cauldron (with apologies to J K Rowling)

Damian Green has made it clear that he thinks that it is the business of opposition MPs to publicise information that the Government tries to sit on.

The Government (and the Police) clearly think that it isn't.

But the Goverment is, of course, not so lily white on this issue. Much has been made of the fact that lots of the Pre-Budget Report was leaked to the media before the Chancellor made his statement to the Commons. Some may have been put out there by the famed Treasury Mole, but it is quite clear that other information was leaked by, or with the tacit consent of Ministers themselves. Surely this is sensitive information which should not be in the public domain until the proper time. Has anyone asked the Police to look into this?

And what about the media. They could be said to be complicit in the leaking process because they receive much of the information and gleefully publish it.

Without a hint of irony, this BBC story contains the words
The BBC understands that a junior Home Office official was suspended from duty 10 days ago over a number of leaks and the matter was referred to police. He was arrested but not charged.
'the BBC understands' - that sounds to me like it came from an off the record briefing - a leak.

And what about this story?

Downing Street sources say there will almost certainly be some discussion of the pre-Budget report, and ministers will finalise the detail of their next legislative programme, which the Queen will set out before Parliament on Wednesday.

There will also be an update from Foreign Office Minister Lord Malloch-Brown on the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which he has just returned from.

Ooh - looks to me like someone disclosed the Cabinet's agenda to the press. Surely a leak inquiry will be held.

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