Ministerial aide sacked after leak of letter warning Tory MPs… not to leak

A ministerial aide has been sacked following an investigation into the leaking of a letter warning Conservative MPs not to leak information.

Andrew Lewer is no longer a parliamentary private secretary at the Home Office after a “canary trap” was set by chief whip Mark Spencer, multiple Whitehall sources confirmed to the Press Association.

In a bid to reveal suspected leakers within government, different versions of the letter were understood to have been sent to each recipient.

Each contained distinct but minor differences, it is believed.

An image of one of the letters appeared on the Guido Fawkes website on Thursday afternoon.

Mr Lewer, MP for Northampton South, has denied being responsible.

“In nearly 20 years of elected office I have never leaked to the press,” he told Politico.

In the letter, it was warned that Boris Johnson’s foreword to the ministerial code “strictly prohibits” leaking.

“Please keep this in the forefront of your mind; the position you hold is a privilege and not a right,” it added.

Downing Street has been trying to crack down on leaks in recent weeks, after newspapers reported plans for a second national lockdown in England before an official announcement from the prime minister.

Mr Johnson said earlier this week that the search for the culprit was continuing and promised to update the Commons “if” the source was discovered.

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