LONDON—In a recent exposé published by The Guardian, a striking revelation has come to light regarding Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s pen preferences. The report uncovers a consistent pattern of Sunak employing disposable pens with erasable ink, both during his tenure as the Chancellor of the Exchequer and now as the Prime Minister. The latest sighting of this peculiar choice was during a recent Cabinet meeting, where Sunak was observed diligently taking notes.
Photographs captured various instances of Sunak utilizing the erasable pen, from working on government papers to signing official letters in the confines of Downing Street. Astonishingly, the pen even accompanied him to international summits, such as the European political community meeting in Moldova earlier this month. The Prime Minister’s press secretary addressed the matter, asserting, “This is a pen provided by and widely used by the Civil Service. The Prime Minister has never used the erase function and nor would he.”
However, this revelation surfaces at a time of mounting concerns over governmental transparency, further exacerbated by the government’s recent attempt to obstruct the official Covid inquiry from accessing ministers’ WhatsApp messages. Moreover, The Guardian reported earlier this week that Sunak’s government had imposed an unprecedented number of blocks on freedom of information requests within its first three months, fueling allegations of a “concealment culture in government ranks.”
However, Sunak’s social media accounts do show him using pens with permanent ink to sign important documents, including an economic agreement with India in October 2020 during his tenure as Chancellor.
The pens in question, priced at around £5, bear a distinctive “erasable ink” logo and are manufactured by a reputable Japanese stationery company, which promotes them as “ideal for those learning to write with ink because if you make a mistake, the ink erases using standard ink eradicators.” While these pens are marketed as distinct from other disposable fountain pens, boasting “real tipping for a smooth, rounded writing point, and a much more enjoyable writing experience,” it should be noted that certain versions of Pilot V pens also employ erasable ink.
Some observers have voiced apprehensions that Sunak’s reliance on these pens may jeopardize the preservation of his hand-written notes on official documents stored in government archives or used in independent investigations, such as the ongoing official Covid inquiry.
This revelation highlights the need for closer scrutiny and safeguards to ensure transparency and the preservation of official records in the highest echelons of government.