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Originally published Wednesday, May 14, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Cameras capture photos of secret British papers

Two senior government ministers accidentally revealed confidential documents to sharp-eyed photographers on Tuesday — including proposals...

The Associated Press

LONDON — Two senior government ministers accidentally revealed confidential documents to sharp-eyed photographers on Tuesday — including proposals for British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to star in a reality-television show.

Close-up images of an e-mail printout that Communities Secretary Hazel Blears was carrying when she left a meeting in Brown's office showed details of a planned TV program called "Junior P.M.," a talent show for young lawmakers in which Brown would be a judge.

The e-mail, sent to one of Blears' advisers by television producer Margaret McCabe, says the show would be "a golden opportunity for the P.M." to show a more relaxed side.

A spokesman for Blears confirmed there had been contact with the producers over the proposals. The young people would have some kind of competition, and a young prime minister then would be chosen for a day, the spokesman said. He said nothing has been finalized.

Brown has made repeated attempts to soften his sometimes dour image in recent weeks: holding talks with pop star Shakira and recording a video message for "American Idol."

But the efforts brought little reward in municipal polls on May 1, when Labour lost hundreds of local council seats and saw the main opposition Conservatives snatch control of London's City Hall for the first time.

Earlier in the day, Britain's housing minister, Caroline Flint, accidentally let photographers see another confidential document, which warned the country's housing market could fall by 10 percent this year.

Flint was walking into a morning Cabinet meeting at Downing Street carrying the papers in a clear plastic folder.

Photographers took close-up shots, which show that the document warns prices on Britain's housing market will, at best, drop by 5 to 10 percent this year.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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