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MoD tops lost security pass league

But Cabinet minister goes for individual title

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Ministry of Defence staff are responsible for the vast majority of security passes that have gone AWOL since 2001, research by the LibDems has revealed.

Still, Work and Pensions Minister James Purnell is doing his bit, managing to lose his pass over the Christmas break - in November he left confidential documents on a train.

Some 48,000 passes have been lost or stolen from government staff since 2001 and the MoD has lost 38,000 of these. Rates of loss have also been increasing. Although 48,546 have been lost since 2001, or 16 a day, since 2004 43,565 have gone walkabout - 23 a day.

After the MoD with 37,863 losses comes the Home Office with 2,290 lost passes, then the DoT with 2,033 since 2002.

The figures were gleaned from Parliamentary answers by the LibDems.

LibDem Shadow Home Secretary Chris Huhne said: "Losing 50,000 passes in less than eight years suggests a real culture of carelessness at the heart of government.

"Ministers want to be trusted with details of every phone call we make and email we send but this evidence suggests that they can barely be trusted with the security of their own departments.

"They must scrap ID cards immediately before our most personal data is treated in the same slapdash mannor [sic]."

Far be it from us of all people to point fingers over spelling mistakes, but that does look a little, er, slapdash.

And, speaking of slapdash, Purnell's wallet turned up in Soho over the weekend, complete with Commons security pass. Of course, this doesn't mean the Work and Pension's secretary was anywhere near the capital's twilight quarter. Purnell, before this latest snafu, and the one before that was famous for being Photoshopped into a publicity shot for a hospital opening after he failed to make the actual photocall.®

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