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Oops (continued)

Eddie Mair | 14:14 UK time, Tuesday, 21 April 2009

oops.JPG (Photograph: Lewis Whylde/PA Photograph: Lewis Whyld/PA)

By Andrew Woodcock, Press Association Chief Political Correspondent
Gordon Brown's proposal to scrap MPs' second home allowances was inadvertently revealed ahead of schedule by Communities Secretary Hazel Blears as she left Cabinet this morning.
Ms Blears was clutching a copy of the proposals as she was snapped by
photographers in Downing Street, and copies of their pictures clearly show the
plans to replace the perk with a daily attendance allowance.
he slip came less than a fortnight after Bob Quick was forced to resign as
Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police when he accidentally revealed
operational details of an anti-terror raid by displaying a secret memo as he
arrived to brief Mr Brown at Number 10.

Ms Blears apologised to Mr Brown for her own blunder and was said by aides to
be feeling "sheepish" about the incident.
By the time her error became known, the proposals on MPs' expenses had been
unveiled by Mr Brown on the Downing Street website and by Commons Leader Harriet Harman in a statement to the House.
But the incident will nonetheless be an embarrassment for Ms Blears, who might
be expected to be more aware of the need to keep secret documents hidden from the telephoto lenses.
In May last year, she hit the headlines when she was snapped leaving Downing
Street holding an email print-out on the subject of the Prime Minister taking
part in an Apprentice-style TV programme, to be called Junior PM.
The same day, the then housing minister Caroline Flint walked past
photographers carrying a see-through file as she arrived to brief the Cabinet on
problems in the housing market.
Following today's incident, a spokesman for Ms Blears' Department for
Communities and Local Government said: "The Secretary of State is always very
careful when handling all restricted or secure papers. The papers that were
snapped today were not of that kind and related to an announcement that was
about to be made public.
"Nonetheless in this instance Ms Blears is feeling understandably sheepish,
she has apologised to the PM and takes it as a lesson to be extra careful in


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