The Treasury is set to release details about an embargoed copy of this year’s Budget which was released to the London Evening Standard.
Press Gazette understands the Treasury will reveal whether the Standard received a whole embargoed copy, when it received it, how many years in a row this has been standard procedure and which, if any, other news organisations received a copy.
The Standard this year tweeted a picture of its front page based on Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s speech before he had made it in Parliament.
Editor Sarah Sands said she was “devastated” an embargo had been broken and revealed that the paper had had a pre-release arrangement with “successive governments”.
On the same say, Press Gazette sent a Freedom of Information request to the Treasury.
It was rejected, with the department saying Osborne had ordered “a review into the practice of the proactive pre-releasing of Budget information under embargo which has operated in recent years” and so the information would be released within a few weeks. That response was received on 19 April.
The Treasury said it will review the appropriateness of current arrangements and said the following questions would be answered within it:
“On 20 March this year the London Evening Standard received an embargoed copy of the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s budget statement. Is this correct?
“Did the newspaper receive his budget announcement in full? If not, what details did it receive? On what date and at what time was it sent to the newspaper?
“The editor Sarah Sands said that this was normal procedure and had happened for many years. How many years in a row has the Chancellor’s budget announcement been leaked to the London Evening Standard?
“Did any other media organisations – including newspapers and broadcasters – receive the same embargoed copy of the budget announcement? If so, which media organisations received it? How many years in a row has each of these media organisations received the embargoed copy?”