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Francis Maude uncovers the extent of damage to mobile phones in Whitehall

It was a report from Bloomberg which first warned of the threat to the future integrity of mobile phones in the vicinity of the Prime Minister on hearing bad news:

“The prime minister, 58, has hurled pens and even a stapler at aides, according to one; he says he once saw the leader of Britain ’s 61 million people shove a laser printer off a desk in a rage. Another aide was warned to watch out for “flying Nokias” when he joined Brown’s team."

But if Gordon Brown has been throwing mobile phones around, they would appear not to have been ones issued to him, based on replies given to parliamentary questions asked by Shadow Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude. But we do learn that any government-issue handsets which have been damaged were replaced free of charge by Vodafone...

Here's the answer Francis Maude got on February 23rd 2009:

Mr. Maude:  To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster with reference to the answer of 14 July 2008,  Official Report, column 154W, on departmental telephones, how many Cabinet Office mobile telephones procured for official use through the Vodafone contracts have been replaced due to  (a) loss,  (b) theft or  (c) damage in the last 18 months.

Kevin Brennan: The Cabinet Office has recorded that of the mobile phones procured for official use under the Vodafone contracts, 11 have been reported lost, two stolen and 14 damaged during the past 18 months.

And this is his most recent exchange on the matter:

Mr. Maude:  To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster pursuant to the answer of 23 February 2009,  Official Report, columns 392-93W, on departmental mobile telephones, (1) whether any of the 14 damaged mobile telephones had been allocated to individuals who work in 10 Downing Street; (2) what the cost to the public purse was of replacing the 14 damaged mobile telephones; (3) what the (a) make and (b) model of each of the 14 damaged mobile telephones was.

Mr. Watson: None of the 14 phones that were damaged had been issued to individuals who work in Downing street. Under the terms of the contract the Department has with Vodafone, damaged handsets are replaced free of charge on a ‘like for like’ replacement policy. The make and models of the 14 damaged mobile phones mentioned in my answer of 23 February 2009, Official Report, columPicture 2ns 392-93W, to the right hon. Member are given in the table:


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