UK minister branded ‘genuinely irresponsible’ after claiming British Isil hostage John Cantlie is alive

The UK’s security minister was accused on Tuesday night of being “genuinely irresponsible” after he claimed a British hostage held by Islamic State was still alive.

Senior Whitehall sources said Ben Wallace, the security minister, may have put John Cantlie’s life in jeopardy by commenting on his status.

The source said Mr Wallace had “massively undermined” his own department. Mr Cantlie, a British photographer, was kidnapped six years ago by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

His whereabouts and status are not known, according to well-placed sources inside the Government.