Sunday 19 January 2020

Cricket fan Clarke makes key plea

Kenneth Clarke lost the keys to his red box
Kenneth Clarke lost the keys to his red box

Lord Chancellor Kenneth Clarke lost the key to his red box containing official papers as he took a day off to watch cricket at Trent Bridge.

Mr Clarke admitted that officials at the Ministry of Justice would suspect him of faking the loss so he could enjoy the first day of England's Test match against Pakistan.

But in a message to staff via BBC Radio's Test Match Special, he assured them: "If they are in the office listening to this programme - honestly, if they send the key, I will do the papers tonight."

Red boxes are traditionally used by ministers to carry official papers when they are away from their departments, but the Ministry of Justice today insisted that the loss of the key had not compromised security.

A spokesman said a replacement key would be sent to Mr Clarke.

The spokesman said: "There is no security breach. The Lord Chancellor will be able to open his box as normal."

Mr Clarke said he insisted on starting his summer break with the Test Match in his home-town of Nottingham.

He told Test Match Special: "I have told them my recess begins with the Test Match at Trent Bridge, you will not get me to stay in London."

And he added: "I have had to ring up my office from the ground just to let them know that I can't open the red box that they made me take with me because I appear to have lost my key. I do have a key. I have mislaid it somewhere. I can't believe anybody in my office believes a word - they know I'm at Trent Bridge."

Mr Clarke had an enjoyable day at Trent Bridge, where England made an impressive 331-4 with a superb maiden Test century from Eoin Morgan.

PA Media

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