UK Chancellor Fights for Job After Data Loss

25M missing records spell trouble for already shaky Labour
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 21, 2007 2:28 PM CST
Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling, standing, with Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown, right, seated beside him gives a statement to the House of Commons, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2007,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A day after Alistair Darling was forced to admit that the tax department had lost the personal data of 25 million citizens, the British chancellor was fighting to keep his job in the face of a hostile and incredulous press. "Beyond farce, past comprehension, criminally irresponsible and beneath contempt" was the assessment of one Times columnist. Darling insisted on morning talk shows he would continue in his job, but the press is less certain.

The Telegraph assumes it's only a matter of time before Darling is gone, but a Guardian writer dissents: Gordon Brown will keep Darling because "losing a chancellor often signals the beginning of the end." Only Monday Darling was facing down criticism over his handling of the Northern Rock fiasco;  this latest disaster puts Brown's government on shakier ground than ever.