Budget: Labour Attacks Evening Standard Leak
Labour has called for an investigation after the Evening Standard published details of the Budget before the Chancellor stood up in the Commons.
The front page, photocopies of which were being scrutinised by the Opposition front bench as the speech began, detailed several aspects of the Budget relating to duty changes, tax and macroeconomic figures.
Labour leader Ed Miliband said George Osborne "almost need not have bothered coming" to the Commons "because the whole Budget, including the market-sensitive fiscal forecasts, were in the Standard".
"To be fair to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, I'm sure he didn't intend the whole of the Budget to be in the Standard before he rose to his feet," he said as he responded to Mr Osborne's speech.
Details of the Budget were handed to journalists ahead of the speech but the content was not to be published until after the Chancellor had addressed MPs.
Evening Standard editor Sarah Sands apologised, saying she was "devastated" that the paper had broken the embargo.
"An investigation is immediately under way into how this front page was made public and the individual who tweeted the page has been suspended while this takes place," she said in a statement.
"We have immediately reviewed our procedures. We are devastated that an embargo was breached and offer our heartfelt apologies."
The newspaper's political editor, Joe Murphy, also issued an apology during the Chancellor's speech.
He tweeted: "I wish to apologise for a very serious mistake by the Evening Standard earlier which resulted in our front page being tweeted.
"We are so sorry to the House of Commons, to the Speaker and to the Chancellor for what happened. We shall be apologising to them."
Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls told Sky News: "The idea the Treasury was giving market-sensitive information about the borrowing numbers to the Evening Standard before the Chancellor has said it to the Commons, that is very unusual ... that is a big, big mistake."
When questioned about whether similar briefings had been given under a Labour Government, he said: "What Governments do is they shape the agenda. We have seen lots of leaks in the last few days but to give out the fiscal numbers, market-sensitive in advance, I've never heard of that before."
In 1947, Labour Chancellor Hugh Dalton was forced to quit when the Budget was leaked before it was delivered in the chamber.
what do you think?
well they shouldnt leak anything then before the budget simple should be said on the day. what a load of rubbish and twaddle
Because no one supposed to know til he opens the red box in parliament that's why!!!
Looks like the Tories are still hand in hand with the press
Or it may be the Liberals!!!
Very true can't trust clegg as he seems to be edging his bets
They gave the information to all the papers just the standard who published early - thought the papers got the info as announced in commons - looks like government still hand in hand with the press - nothing's changed there then