Details of 3m UK Driving test candidates goes missing in ... Iowa, US

The personal details of three million UK would-be drivers have been reported missing seven months after the incident occurred.

Ruth Kelly, the Transport Secretary, has had to explain herself on yet another bruising and disconcerting data blunder, further compounded by the fact that she was only told about the data loss at the end of November.

The handling of the data was outsourced to American firm Pearson Driving Assessments and it has emerged that the blunder was known to the former transport minister Stephen Ladyman since June.

On BBC News last night, Ms Kelly downplayed the loss of data saying that the data loss is not as sensitive as the one on the discs which went missing from the HMRC a few weeks ago.

The lost hard disk drive contained only names, email addresses, phone numbers and a couple of other proprietary variables.

Ms Kelly was also keen not to repeat the same mistake of sending apology letters to the ones concerns; the child benefit data scandal was made worse by the fact that the letters containing sensitive details were wrongly sent to thousands.