Another British minister says sorry for dumping documents
Britain's Business Secretary Vince Cable apologised unreservedly Friday after becoming the second minister in a month caught dumping sensitive documents in the bin.
Confidential papers were found in trash bins outside the lawmaker's Twickenham constituency office in southwest London.
The unshredded papers, including correspondence from other ministers and letters containing the personal details of his constituents, were discovered in transparent recycling bags.
Cable, 68, said he took "full responsibility" for the "serious error", saying the shredding system in his office had not been adhered to.
"I apologise unreservedly to all my constituents for what has clearly been an unacceptable breach of their privacy," he said.
The breach was discovered by a local resident who had been collecting documents from the office's recycling bags since February.
Cable, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, the junior governing coalition partners, said he was alerted to the problem on Wednesday after the resident handed the papers to a local newspaper.
A spokeswoman for the Information Commissioner's Office, the public body regulating data protection, confirmed they were making enquiries. They have the power to impose heavy fines.
"This is the second example in recent weeks of an MP or their staff allegedly mishandling constituency paperwork and again highlights the need to ensure that personal details are kept secure," the spokeswoman said.
"When constituents contact their MP they have the right to expect that the information they share will stay private."
Last month the Daily Mirror newspaper published photographs of policy minister Oliver Letwin dumping papers in a central London park bin, which included documents about the rendition of terror suspects and letters from constituents.
An investigation found Letwin had not committed a security breach.
© 2011 AFP