Thursday, 21 October 2010

Downing Street photography

In April last year I wrote about the resignation of Bob Quick who was the head of counter-terrorism at Scotland Yard. One of his mistakes was to show confidential information to waiting photographers in Downing Street. I don't think this was his biggest mistake, after all, we all make mistakes but he happened to resign shortly after this. Since then there has been a long list of people who have also shown confidential information to photographers and I have not heard of any other resignations. It is the sort of thing that can happen to anyone. it is a failure in the system which is preferred to the possibility of invited guests going into Downing Street with a briefcase. Two days ago it was the turn of Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander.

In this case it meant that headlines were made yesterday that were meant for today. There really is a long list of private and confidential documents that have been filmed in Downing Street. My problem is not with the photographers - that's their job. It's not with the long list of people, mostly politicians, who made errors - nobody's perfect. It is with the decision to ban briefcases from Downing Street. You only get past the gates if you are invited. So we can't trust invited guests. If that is the case are briefcases banned whenever and wherever two or three cabinet members meet?How did we get to this stage?

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