Independent journalists scoop top press awards

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The Independent Online

Writers from The Independent and The Independent on Sunday won two of the most prestigious honours at last night's British Press Awards.

Independent columnist Hamish McRae was named Business and Finance Journalist of the Year, while Francis Elliott, Whitehall Editor of The Independent on Sunday, was given the Political Journalist of the Year award.

McRae beat an impressive field which included the new editor of the Sunday Telegraph, Patience Wheatcroft. Jon Snow, hosting the awards, said the judges had "ultimately decided on a journalist who takes a long view in a rapidly changing economic world, a writer who covers a vast area with dazzling skill and judgement". Peers agreed his journalism was "something to aspire to".

Judges drew attention to Elliott's exclusive on how David Blunkett broke ministerial rules when he took a lucrative City job. The story was "the political scoop of the year", said Snow, adding: "Not only did he bring down a cabinet minister, he also wrote a compelling commentary that displayed the very essence of political journalism."