Leaked memos 'could have been stolen from bins'

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Indy Politics

The embarrassing series of leaks from Downing Street may have resulted from key New Labour figures' bins being raided, it was claimed today.

The embarrassing series of leaks from Downing Street may have resulted from key New Labour figures' bins being raided, it was claimed today.

Ministers such as Chancellor Gordon Brown and Education Secretary David Blunkett are reported to have told Downing Street that rubbish at their homes had been tampered with.

And pollster Philip Gould has admitted that copies of his sensitive memos to the Prime Minister were torn up and thrown out with the household rubbish at his north London home.

The theory is likely to have been added to the lines of inquiry being examined by Special Branch, which is already looking into the possibility of a betrayal by a source within Downing Street, or sophisticated computer hacking.

Downing Street last night gave a guarded reaction to the story.

The leak inquiry, which is being directed by Cabinet Secretary Sir Richard Butler, is examining how confidential documents, including a memo in which Mr Blair warned that Labour appeared to be losing ground on issues like law and order, and another in which Mr Gould warned that voters were turning away from the "contaminated" New Labour brand, reached the press.

Last night yet another leaked memo from Mr Gould made it into the media - although it was by no means as damaging as previous revelations.

It contained a private joke to Alastair Campbell, the Prime Minister's official spokesman - Mr Gould related how one of his relatives had a nightmare about the Blairs coming to live with them after losing a general election.

The note ended with the plea: "Help."

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