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  1. Politics
7 January 2010

It was the NS wot got it . . .

We were first with the story of the "secret ballot" plot

By Samira Shackle

So, who broke the story of the failed coup yesterday? The Guardian and the BBC have both jumped to claim it as their own.

The Guardian does so on the basis that, at 12.15pm, it had a ticker line at the top of its website saying that a statement was due from Patricia Hewitt and Geoff Hoon. It didn’t report the full story till later in the afternoon.

With rather less justification, the BBC last night said it had broken the story at 12.30pm (actually, according to Guido Fawkes, the Beeb had it at 1pm).

Guido joins in, too, to say that he had the story straight after the Guardian, “just after half past”.

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Well, sorry, everyone — as Sunny Hundal concludes at Liberal Conspiracy today, the story was actually broken by my colleague James Macintyre.

He published his story online at 12.17pm — a full account of how the gruesome twosome were co-ordinating a letter to MPs calling for a secret ballot on Gordon Brown’s leadership (as opposed to the Guardian‘s one-line teaser). James’s piece was certainly the first Iain Dale had heard of it.

Why the two-minute delay our end? Well, having been sitting opposite James at the time, I can confirm that he received the tip-off around 11.30am but was told to hold off until after PMQs. The full story was sitting, ready to go, and we hit publish as soon as we saw that the Guardian were on to it, too.

Case closed.

 

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