Ministers told to stop leaks to journalists

Ministers came under fire from MPs of all parties last night for routinely leaking their important announcements to the press.

The attack was led by the Tory MP, Philip Hollobone, who said it was time to force the Government to treat Parliament with respect. He protested that MPs were "often the last to know" about important changes in policy.

Another Tory, Jacob Rees-Mogg, said: "The Government has this massive advantage in controlling the news agenda and it uses taxpayers' money to do that."

Labour frontbencher Chris Byrant said: "This has got worse in recent years... with the advent of 24-hour news, because there's an insatiable beast that needs to be fed all the time."

A Bill tabled by Mr Hollobone that would have given the Standards and Privileges Committee the power to investigate cases was defeated last night by 119 votes to 228.

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