Timeshare owners at a Highland resort claim their privacy has been breached after details of a former Conservative cabinet minister’s holiday was publicised in the luxury development’s newsletter.
Under the heading “VIP Visit” the Loch Rannoch Highland Club (LRHC) in Kinloch Rannoch, near Pitlochry, Perthshire, revealed that former work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith spent Easter there a week after resigning following welfare budget cuts.
Under the heading “VIP at the resort,” it said: “Ian (sic) Duncan Smith (IDS) spent the Easter week at the resort. He used UK Resort Exchange (UKRE). He was quite impressed with Loch Rannoch by all accounts.”
The 5 April newsletter was emailed to more than 2,000 timeshare owners.
Last night, the LRHC defended the newsletter, saying, “The fact that Iain Duncan Smith is a public figure inevitably makes his movements of interest.”
But Ann Blyth, the managing director of timeshare company UKRE, who arranged Duncan Smith’s holiday and whose clients include a number of public figures, said: “I froze in shock when I found out what was in the newsletter.
“I had a number of calls from owners saying this was a breach of confidentiality and worried about private information being emailed to thousands of people.
“I think this is a bit dangerous in terms of security for well-known people and could lead to blackmail in certain circumstances.
“I sent emailed Stephen Walton, chairman of the LRHC committee, and he phoned the next day saying ‘I take full responsibility’.”
Timeshare owner Peter Goddard, managing director of Myreside Management property company in Edinburgh, said: “It concerns me greatly that these sort of details are being put out in the public domain.”
David Simpson, a timeshare owner from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, said: “Nothing should be put in a newsletter without the individual’s consent.
“This behaviour impacts on all of us who value private space.”
A LRHC committee statement said: “The information was not ‘made public’. It was posted in a limited circulation newsletter as being of interest to members. There was no security issue. All information was firmly in the past before the newsletter was issued. The fact that Iain Duncan Smith is a public figure inevitably makes his movements of interest.”
Last year the GMB union investigated alleged bullying against a number of staff by some management committee members.