Sun journalist ‘paid £750 for budget details’

 

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The Independent Online

A government press officer leaked budget secrets to a Sun reporter in exchange for £750, a court has heard.

The claims were made today in the trial of Clodagh Hartley, The Sun’s Whitehall editor. Ms Hartley is accused of paying about £17,000 over three years to Jonathan Hall, an HMRC press officer.

In March 2010, Mr Hall supplied information for an exclusive double-page spread about Alistair Darling’s budget before he stood up to present it to MPs, jurors were told.

Zoe Johnson, prosecuting, said the Budget Day article leaked an announcement that fuel duty was going to rise.

She said: “The details of the budget are a closely guarded secret. You would expect the details would be announced to Parliament and not broadcast in advance in the newspapers and certainly not for money.”

Mr Hall has accepted that he supplied stories to Ms Hartley and was paid, the jury were told. Ms Hartley, 40, from south-east London, denies conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office. The trial continues.