The UK Cabinet Office admitted on Tuesday night that the leak on December 27 of more than 1,000 New Year Honours recipients’ addresses – including those of Elton John and former Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders – was left online for more than three hours. 

Conservative ministers issued an “unreserved apology” for the major gaffe and launched an independent review after the government had initially insisted the private data was leaked online for merely an hour.

Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Dowden has now revised that version of events, and said that, while the link to the data was taken down after 40 minutes, any individuals that had a direct web link had access to the sensitive information for a further 150 minutes.

Dowden insisted that “appropriate management action” would be taken but did not reveal whether anyone would be sacked. He added: “On behalf of the Cabinet Office I apologise unreservedly for any distress or inconvenience caused.”

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