42. British journalism's greatest ever scoops: MPs’ expenses (Daily Telegraph, 2009)

Only time will tell what its place is in this history books – but for many this was biggest British journalism scoop of all time.

Benedict Brogan explained to Press Gazette how “the sweat of old-fashioned reporting” led a Telegraph team of 45 journalists to sift through one million pages of information about MPs’ expenses to secure three weeks of back-to-back agenda-setting front pages. 

It was a summer that no-one who was at the Telegraph will ever forget – with rival newspapers waiting along with everyone else to see what the Telegraph team would turn up next each morning.

It has ended the political careers of more than 20 MPs and led to a massive shake-up of MPs’ pay and allowances.

The Telegraph may have paid an intermediary for the apparently stolen data.  But this was far more than just chequebook journalism – it was a world-beating example of brave, probing, irreverent and establishment-shaking Fleet Street journalism at its best.


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