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MAFF keeps its laptops in closet

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Agriculture minister, Nick Brown, is under fire from parliamentary colleagues over the disappearance of two notebook PCs, together valued at around £11,000. The PCs were removed from the Whips Office on 27 July, when the MP lost his job as chief whip and were taken to the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food (MAFF) where he took up his new position. Ann Taylor, the new chief whip, was said to be so angered by the loss of the computers, and the sensitive information they held, that she demanded MAFF pay £11,000 to have them replaced. The matter came to light when Tory MP, Richard Page, tabled two written questions asking how much money MAFF had handed over. Page is a member of the public accounts committee. A statement from MAFF said that the users of the notebooks had wanted to hang on to them when they switched departments, rather than get new ones. ®

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