Northampton South MP sacked from Home Office role after memo telling Tory staff to 'stop leaking' is leaked

Andrew Lewer MP has been fired as parliamentary private secretary at the Home Office after a specifically worded memo was leaked.

Friday, 18th December 2020, 12:28 pm
Updated Friday, 18th December 2020, 2:02 pm
Andrew Lewer has been fired from a role at the Home Office after a memo warning staff not to leak memos was leaked.

Northampton South's MP has been sacked from a Home Office job after a memo warning top Tories not to leak memos was leaked.

Andrew Lewer was fired from his role as parliamentary private secretary (PPS) at the Home Office last night (December 17).

The memo to PPS and Tory vice-chairman was a warning about leaking information to the press and said there would be "severe consequences" for anyone caught breaking the in-house Ministerial Code.

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What the recipients did not know, reportedly, is that each copy of the memo from Chief Whip Mark Spencer MP was worded differently.

Then, when a copy of the memo was appeared on political gossip website Guido Fawkes, this reportedly led the Government to work out who had received that particular version of the letter.

As a result, Andrew Lewer or a member of his staff have been accused of leaking the memo and has been fired from his role as a PPS at the Home Office.

The Northampton South MP has been contacted for a comment.

Andrew Lewer was serving as a PPS to Policing Minister Kit Malthouse.

He told Politico Playbook last night: “In nearly 20 years of elected office I have never leaked to the press.”

The leaked letter was dated December 14.

It comes after the Prime Minister was reportedly "furious" in October over how plans for the second national coronavirus lockdown were leaked to the press before they were finalised.

Parliamentary private secretaries are appointed by ministers to be his or her assistant. It is an unpaid role but does give them access to confidential papers and memos.

The leaked memo from Mark Spencer read: "It has recently come to my attention that there seems to be a lack of clarity of what is expected of you in your position as Private Parliamentary Secretary or Vice Chair.

"In your role as PPS/VC, you are strictly bound to the conditions clearly set out in the Ministerial Code.

"I would take this opportunity to remind you of the consequences that you will face, should you choose to breach the Code.

"If you violate any aspect of the Ministerial Code, you will be removed from your position with immediate effect.

"No 'mitigating circumstances' will be acknowledged or accepted."

It also warned Tory staff it was "not accepted" to sign joint letters to ministers and raise anything on a "one-to-one basis".

It read: "The orgaisation or signing of any future group letters will be met with an immediate reconcilliation with the backbenches for both the organisers and signatories."