Kelvin MacKenzie defends pay-offs to public officials: 'How else are you supposed to find out the truth?'

Former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie has said he would probably be in prison if he was editing the paper today.

MacKenzie was Sun editor from 1981 to 1993 and was talking about the practice of paying public officials for stories.

Over the last four years 22 serving and former Sun journalists have faced criminal charges over payments made to public officials.

MacKenzie told The Sunday Times: “If I was doing it now, I would be editing The Sun from Wormwood Scrubs.

“I never asked where stories came from.”

He was speaking to the paper’s business section as part of an interview to promote his consumer rights website A Spokesman Said.

Defending the practice of paying public officials for information, MacKenzie told the paper he would do it “all day and all night”.

He added: “Not only would I do it, but I would put a little box on page noe saying we paid eight thousand quid to a public official for this story.”

MacKenzie told the paper that ministers pay public relations advisors to keep information from the public: “How else are you supposed to find out the truth if there’s a scandal going on?” 

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