More exclusive guesswork inside - Press Gazette

More exclusive guesswork inside

The departure of Tony Blair and John Prescott worked Fleet Street into a lather of increasingly bizarre and erratic predictions.

A dazzling array of so-called “exclusives” varied so widely that even hacks on the same paper could not agree on what was happening.

The News of the World’s eager columnist Fraser Nelson predicted on 13 May that Prezza would be off to the House of Lords, “shifting his hefty carcass there soon”.

But just two weeks earlier, the NoW ran a tale under the byline of political editor Ian Kirby which confidently insisted “Prezza won’t be lording it”.

The nerdish Nelson, who doubles as The Spectator’s political editor, also proclaimed Blair “will keep his Sedgefield seat for the next few years”.

Sadly, his view was not shared by Kirby, who wrote in February that the PM “will stand down as MP for Sedgefield in the autumn”.

Not to be outdone, The Sun’s political editor George Pascoe Watson came up with his own bombshell on 10
May: “Prezza Quits on Sunday”. Sadly for GPW, Two Jags said on the very day of his story that he had in fact quit two weeks earlier.

But fellow hacks at the Mirror fared little better. They proudly boasted they had correctly predicted Blair’s 10 May departure date two weeks earlier.

“Funny that they didn’t mention their page 1 exclusive that Blair was staying until 2010,” mutters my man at The Sun.

“Given their tedious habit of trying to claim they wrote political stories first, it’s strange they didn’t mention that one.”