Sealed: Sun scooped Hutton
Sun political editor Trevor Kavanagh was defiant and unfazed after Lord Hutton threatened to put him in the dock for scooping other newspapers with a leaked report of his inquiry.
Lord Hutton said he was considering taking legal action against The Sun after Tony Blair was plunged into a row amid Tory accusations that No 10 had been responsible for a classic spin operation.
Tory leader Michael Howard demanded a full inquiry headed by Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens. But Kavanagh said: “There is no contempt of court because this was not a court. There was no breach of the Official Secrets Act because this was not a secret. I don’t blame Lord Hutton for being cross. Clearly we stole his thunder.”
But Kavanagh added: “The Sun had a great journalistic scoop and any other paper would have given it the space we did.”
Blair dismissed Tory charges Downing Street was involved in leaking the Hutton Report to The Sun.
The Sun maintained the report was leaked by someone who had no financial or vested interest in its outcome.
A clearly angry Hutton said at the end of the presentation of his report: “I deplore the reporting of some of the conclusions of my report by a newspaper this morning in circumstances where it was known that in the public interest I sought to ensure the contents of the report would remain confidential until it was published.
“I am now giving urgent consideration to what investigative and legal action I should take in respect of the newspaper and its source.”
Kavanagh celebrated his scoop by lunching with his political team in the Parliamentary Press Gallery.
The latest scoop will only add to Kavanagh’s reputation for getting the big exclusives that other papers would give their eyeteeth for.
“It was a great scoop and has saved all of us a lot of work,” said one seasoned parliamentary reporter.
By David Rose