Journalists from the Sunday Mirror and the Sunday Telegraph independently tracked down leaked copies of the Queen’s speech at the weekend.
Press Gazette understands that the unprecedentedly extensive leak obtained by Vincent Moss of the Sunday Mirror and Patrick Hennessy of the Sunday Telegraph was achieved without any money changing hands.
Both journalists managed to get hold of a draft copy of the speech, due to be delivered to parliament tomorrow, and so were able to report in detail on some 21 pieces of legislation that are expected to be introduced.
The Daily Mail reports today that Downing Street is ‘furious’over the leak and that a ‘major inquiry’is underway.
Sunday Mirror political editor Moss told Press Gazette: “No money changed hands, it was just a good old-fashioned scoop relying on contacts, built up in my case over the last 15 years. Details have leaked from previous Queen’s Speeches, but never the full details before and significantly – never the words of the Queen.”
On the question of the leak enquiry he said: “As journalists we go to the wire to protect our sources.”
Sunday Telegraph political editor Hennessy has been a Lobby journalist for 18 years.
He told Press Gazette it appeared that both himself and Moss had obtained the same document.
“It was quite clearly a draft of the Queen’s Speech and a late one. These things are highly prized and it was just a question of getting as much information out there in the paper as possible.”
He said that the Sunday Telegraph “didn’t expect to pay for it and we didn’t”.
Asked about how the story came about, he said: “As Sunday newspaper journalists we are looking to break stories and you do so by talking to as many people as you can over the course of the week. Towards the end of the week things get faster paced and you look to come up with better stuff and last week was a very good example of that. It was a good hit as we say in the trade.
“It was quite clear the Government weren’t happy with what has happened, but I haven’t come under any pressure to reveal anything from the authorities.”