Speaker demands answers over pre-Budget briefing

Commons Speaker John Bercow told MPs that he had accepted the apologies of the Evening Standard for breaking an embargo on the Budget but would be asking the Chancellor to investigate why the briefing happened.

Mr Bercow said: "The Evening Standard yesterday published the main points of the Budget before the House was informed of them by the Chancellor.

"I have received formal apologies from the editor and from the political editor of the Evening Standard. They have also apologised separately to the Chairman of Ways and Means (Lindsay Hoyle).

"I shall place those communications in the library. Their error was extremely regrettable but I am minded not to take that matter further.

File picture of Commons Speaker John Bercow. Credit: PA Wire

"However, the error would not have occurred had the newspaper not been in possession of prior detailed information about the Budget.

"This pre-briefing of Budget proposals is a matter of concern to me and, I judge, to the House as well.

"I am therefore writing to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to ask him to set out what happened on this occasion and whether this is a practice of the Treasury.

"I will revert to the House as necessary."