Thursday 22 February 2018

Fall-guy Phil and budget leaks

The 'London Evening Standard' found itself in hot water on Wednesday after it tweeted details of the UK budget before Chancellor George Osborne had the chance to surprise the country.

Around 15 minutes before Osborne began speaking in parliament, the paper's Twitter feed posted an image of the budget's front page.

The paper issued a grovelling apology and Mr Osborne was challenged about how the details were given out in advance of him taking to his feet.

The incident reminded The Punt of when Phil Hogan, pictured, stepped down as junior finance minster in 1995 after budget details were leaked to journalists.

Mr Hogan took one for the team, and surprised most when he announced his resignation in the Dail.

The gallant move sparked tributes from the opposition, including then Fianna Fail leader Bertie Ahern who claimed he was the fall guy.

It was momentous, not least because it's such a rare occurrence to find a politician in Ireland resign from office amid a controversy.

Who knows what will happen in Britain over budgetgate.

The Punt feels sympathy for the fellow hack at the 'Evening Standard' who tweeted the front page and has now been suspended.

Irish Independent

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