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Speaker’s Statement

Volume 560: debated on Thursday 21 March 2013

The House will be aware that yesterday the Evening Standard published the main points of the Budget before the House had been informed of them by the Chancellor.

I have received formal apologies from the editor and the political editor of the Evening Standard. They have also apologised, separately, to the Chairman of Ways and Means. I shall place those communications in the Library. Their error was extremely regrettable, but I am minded not to take that matter further. However, the error would not have occurred had the newspaper not been in possession of prior detailed information about the Budget.

This pre-briefing of Budget proposals is a matter of concern to me, and, I judge, to the House as well. I am therefore writing to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to ask him to set out what happened on this occasion, and whether this is a practice of the Treasury. I will revert to the House as necessary.