Page last updated at 17:11 GMT, Sunday, 22 March 2009

No 10 reject PM e-mail criticism

Gordon Brown
Mr Brown is accused of wasting money on links to social networks

Downing Street has defended its move to halt the facility which allowed people to e-mail Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

The Number 10 site currently offers a postal address and a fax number but has halted the "Email Number 10 service".

It says it plans to relaunch the e-mail link soon once it has the "same high standards" as the rest of the site.

The Tories criticised the decision to end the email link while money was being spent on the "latest digital gimmicks from Twitter to Flickr".

The beleaguered Prime Minister is literally retreating to his Downing Street bunker
Shadow cabinet office minister Francis Maude

Shadow cabinet office minister Francis Maude said: "Gordon Brown is spending taxpayers' money on the latest digital gimmicks... but can't be bothered to give out a simple email address.

"The beleaguered prime minister is literally retreating to his Downing Street bunker, cutting himself off from an angry and disillusioned electorate.

"In the depths of a recession, it is a waste of taxpayers' cash to be hiring a £160,000 a year head of digital engagement."

But Downing Street insisted that the e-mail facility had only been temporarily withdrawn to facilitate security improvements and would be relaunched next week.

A message on the Number 10 website says: "We have decided at this time that it is important to take another look at the Email Number 10 service to ensure that it meets the same high standards as the other content and communication measures that the website delivers.

"Unfortunately, this means that we will be unable to replace the service as quickly as we had hoped, but we aim to have it up and running as soon as possible. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused."

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