Rishi Sunak has been taking handwritten notes on official papers and in government meetings using erasable-ink pens, raising questions about the secrecy of Downing Street.
Throughout his tenures as chancellor and prime minister, the Rishi Sunak has frequently utilized disposable Pilot V fountain pens. The most recent sighting occurred during the Cabinet meeting two weeks ago when he actively took notes using the pen.
Additionally, pictures have captured Rishi Sunak using erasable-ink pens while working on official documents and signing letters in Downing Street, as well as at international summits, including one that the European political community held earlier this month in Moldova.
The Japanese stationery company markets the pens with an “erasable ink” logo and sells them for £4.75. They promote the pens as “ideal for those learning to write with ink because you can erase the ink using standard ink eradicators if you make a mistake.”
Sunak’s use of the pens has raised concerns that official papers handed over to the government archives or independent investigations, such as the official Covid inquiry, could have his hand-written notes erased.
Downing Street said that the pens were provided by the civil service and were widely used across Whitehall, including by the permanent secretaries of departments.
Written notes of previous British prime ministers
In recent years, the written notes of previous British prime ministers have been an essential resource for historians detailing the inner workings of government at key periods in history.
Margaret Thatcher’s handwritten notes revealed her plans for emergency measures at the height of the miners’ strike and Cabinet disagreements over how to respond to the Falklands invasion.
Presidents of the United States actively choose to use pens with permanent ink to ensure that they do not risk erasing their words, experiencing fading over time, or exposing their writing to potential damage from heat or damp conditions.
There are also photos on Sunak’s social media accounts of him using regular permanent ink pens to actually sign documents, including an economic agreement with India in October 2020 when he was chancellor.