The Treasury has apologised for a racist e-mail mistakenly sent by a press officer to journalists. The message from Robbie Browse, a junior clerical officer, was entitled "advantages of being Chinese" with an attachment named: "This is brilliant!!!"
The recipients on the standard Treasury press list, which includes Roger Alton, editor of The Observer, Sarah Sands, editor of the Sunday Telegraph and Kevin Maguire, associate editor of the Daily Mirror, were encouraged to "try pulling the corner of your eyes as if you were Chinese" to decipher a message reading "no sex causes bad eyes".
Mr Browse offered his "sincere apologies" to recipients for the error.
The Treasury issued a statement saying: "We are taking this incident extremely seriously and deeply regret any offence that has been caused. The incident is being investigated and appropriate action taken. The Treasury has a detailed and strict policy on the acceptable use of its e-mail systems and a clear commitment to promoting diversity."
Last February, Alastair Campbell mistakenly sent an e-mail to Andrew McFadyen, a Newsnight journalist, over Labour's controversial poster campaign that prompted accusations of anti-Semitism.