11 November 2008
The work and pensions secretary has been forced to apologise for leaving confidential ministerial correspondence on a train.

James Purnell lost the papers on a trip from Macclesfield to London last month, although all the documents were returned safely within three days.

The revelation came less than a week after a civil servant was fined £2,500 for leaving papers on a train. In that case Richard Jackson admitted negligence and was fined for a breach of the Official Secrets Act after he left classified documents relating to al-Qaeda and Iraq on a train.

A spokeswoman for Mr Purnell's said he had been working on papers from his ministerial "red box", but had not broken any rules by taking them on a train.
She said there had been "one letter from an MP with the attached correspondence".

The documents were passed to the Sunday Mirror newspaper, which reported that they included letters from Sir Gerald Kaufman MP and related to one of his constituents.

They were picked up by a fellow passenger on the train and subsequently returned to the minister.


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