Concern over MI6 chief web details

The Liberal Democrats are calling for an inquiry into whether the new head of MI6, Sir John Sawers, should be allowed to take up his post after his wife apparently published personal details on the Facebook website.

Lady Shelley Sawers disclosed information, including the location of the London flat used by the couple and the whereabouts of their three children on the social networking site, The Mail on Sunday reported.

The details, which were removed after the newspaper contacted the Foreign Office, also revealed the couple’s friendships with actors Moir Leslie and Alister Cameron.

Lady Sawers’ half-brother, Hugo Haig-Thomas, a former diplomat, was said to be among those featured in family photographs on Facebook.

Mr Haig-Thomas was an associate and researcher for controversial historian David Irving, who was jailed for three years in Austria in 2006 after pleading guilty to Holocaust denial, the paper reported.

Lady Sawers put no privacy protection on her account, allowing any of Facebook’s 200 million users in the open-access “London” network to see the entries, the paper said.

Senior politicians said the security lapse raised concerns about Sir John’s ability to take up his post as chief of the Secret Intelligence Service in November, giving him responsibility for Britain’s overseas spying operations.

Edward Davy, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, called on Gordon Brown to launch an inquiry into the matter.

He told the paper: “Normally, I would welcome greater openness in Government for officials or politicians but this type of exposure verges on the reckless.

“The Prime Minister should immediately commission an internal inquiry as to whether this has breached the security of the incoming head of MI6 too seriously to allow him to take up the post.”