But if he were doing the same thing today, he confessed, he would be exposed as a fraud.
At a lunch to present the Harold Wincott awards for financial journalism Mr Pennant-Rea, a former editor of the Economist, said that he had written hundreds of stories about differences of opinion between the Bank and the Treasury. Editors were always impressed by the stories, which suggested he had the ear of the Chancellor or the notes of the Governor of the Bank. 'I can admit now that they were all made up', he said.
Mr Pennant-Rea said that last week's decision by Kenneth Clarke to publish the minutes of monthly meetings to discuss rate changes with the Governor would have exposed him as a fraud. The decision to publish the minutes was taken in an attempt to prevent speculation in the City and the press about policy-makers' motives and intentions.
At a stroke it had dried up a rich mine of stories for economic journalists.