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London Evening Standard apologises over Budget Twitter leak

By Tim Sculthorpe

The political editor of the Evening Standard apologised today after details of Budget were published on Twitter before the Chancellor delivered his speech to MPs.

While Chancellor George Osborne was on his feet delivering the 2013 Budget, the Labour front bench were closely studying photocopies of the Standard splash which had been tweeted.

Mr Murphy tweeted during the speech: "I wish to apologise for a very serious mistake by the Evening Standard earlier which resulted in our front page being tweeted.

"We are so sorry to the House of Commons, to the Speaker and to the Chancellor for what happened. We shall be apologising to them."

In 1947, Labour chancellor Hugh Dalton had to quit after a Budget was leaked before it was delivered in the Chamber.

The Standard's front page today detailed several aspects of the Budget relating to duty changes, tax and macroeconomic figures.

It appeared on Twitter shortly before Mr Osborne stood up to deliver his Budget to the Commons.

In a statement, Evening Standard editor Sarah Sands said: "An investigation is immediately under way into how this front page was made public and the individual who tweeted the page has been suspended while this takes place.

"We have immediately reviewed our procedures. We are devastated that an embargo was breached and offer our heartfelt apologies."

Labour leader Ed Miliband demanded an investigation and said Mr Osborne "almost need not have bothered coming" to the Commons "because the whole Budget, including the market-sensitive fiscal forecasts, were in the Standard".

In his response to Mr Osborne in the Commons, he said: "To be fair to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, I'm sure he didn't intend the whole of the Budget to be in the Standard before he rose to his feet.

"I hope he will investigate and report back to the House."

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