Revellers set off `Blairgate' alarm

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Three Tory aides who made an out-of-hours visit to the Labour leader's Westminster office are to receive a dressing-down by the Commons security chief, Sir Alan Urwick, the Serjeant at Arms.

The breach of security, described by Sir Alan as a non-storm in a teacup yesterday, came to light on Friday evening when Sue Jackson, head of administration. discovered the three, two of them researchers for Tory MPs, rifling through papers on a desk outside Tony Blair's inner sanctum. Ms Jackson, 47, detained them while she alerted the police.

The incident comes in the wake of the suggestion by John Maples, deputy Tory party chairman, that a few Tory "yobbos'' should try to knock Mr Blair about a bit, and Mr Blair's office is still investigating whether anything has gone missing. But accordingto Sir Alan, it was a simple case of getting lost in the maze of corridors.

The Chief Superintendent's Office at the Commons said: "There is no criminality involved."

"There's nothing to it,'' Sir Alan said. "They were perfectly bona fide people who work here. They lost their way and landed up in there.I shall see them and tick them off...Whether they had had a drink or two, time will tell."

An embarrassed Andrew Hull, aged 22, one of the three and researcher to David Atkinson, MP for Bournemouth East, appeared to confirm yesterday that drink had been taken. "We were coming back from the sports and social club bar,'' he said. "We got lost and ended up wandering into his office. The whole thing has been blown out of proportion.''

Mr Blair's office appeared similarly downbeat yesterday, saying it was a matter for the Serjeant at Arms although "worrying at the time.''