Leaked memo shows Theresa May has ordered crackdown – on leaked information

Downing Street has declined to comment on the report [Image: Getty].

Downing Street has declined to comment on the report [Image: Getty].


Satire is dead:

Theresa May has ordered a crackdown on unauthorised leaks by ministers and civil servants with a warning that culprits will face instant dismissal if they are caught – a leaked memorandum has revealed.

Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood wrote to senior officials informing them the Prime Minister had demanded urgent action to tighten security in Whitehall.

Embarrassingly for No 10 however, his memorandum was leaked to The Mail on Sunday just days after being issued.

Source: Theresa May orders crackdown on unauthorised leaks by ministers and civil servants, leaked memorandum reveals

The article goes on to report that “in his note – dated 28 November and marked Official-Sensitive – Sir Jeremy referred to a “spate of leaks and unauthorised briefings” which had appeared in the media on Brexit, the US elections and the Autumn Statement.

“Leaking is corrosive and undermines trust and good government. Leaks are never acceptable but the regularity and cumulative impact of recent incidents mean we must now collectively take exceptional action,” he wrote.

Those of us who remember the classic comedy Yes, Prime Minister should be laughing at this, as it echoes so clearly the discussion (I believe in the episode Man Overboard) about “good” leaks and “bad” leaks.

A “good” leak is, of course, one that presents the government of the day in a favourable way; a “bad” leak is the opposite.

So at one point the Prime Minister, Jim Hacker, states: “I occasionally have confidential press briefings, but I have never leaked.”

To this, his faithful civil servant Bernard Woolley replies: “Oh, that’s another of those irregular verbs, isn’t it? I give confidential press briefings; you leak; he’s been charged under Section 2a of the Official Secrets Act.”

Indeed, national security is mentioned in the (leaked) memo – but the threat to anybody found releasing confidential information is not confined to that.

Sir Jeremy’s memo states: “Anyone found to have leaked sensitive information will be dismissed even where there is no compromise of national security.”

So there it is. This leaked memo reacting to the leaking of memos shows British politics is now a parody of Yes, Prime Minister – therefore it is a parody of a parody.

Who will have the last laugh?

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8 thoughts on “Leaked memo shows Theresa May has ordered crackdown – on leaked information

  1. Christine Cullen

    By the same token is the government going to stop burying bad news or some unpopular policy on a day when Prince Edward gets engaged or aliens land in their flying saucer in Trafalgar Sq?

  2. John

    You know… I used to love watching Yes Minister, and Prime Minister! Great comedy, when the BBC WAS good!

    I guess there might be one good thing about this:

    Leak and err….. cabbage? soup won’t be in short supply! 😉

  3. cynicacelluloid

    It’s like they don’t want anyone knowing their business…. We must respect their privacy….It’s a b*****d when all your private conversations are under scrutiny by other people. Bloody hypocrites.

  4. Dez

    What the “Leaking is corrosive and undermines trust and good government”??
    Why would anyone not want to leak anything that reflects good government? Only if you are a dictatorship would you want to conceal bad government and god knows this shower of lame brains have created enough bad leadership and government to last a life time. Cons are going to be open and transparent and ensure all information is correct and can be relied upon….one of their biggest vote lies from day 1.

  5. casalealex

    What have you got to hide?

    Government says: “If you don’t have anything to hide why are you worried about surveillance etc., yet, these same people, that hide in private, meet in secret, under armed guard, won’t disclose what they are doing.

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