THE BOOK OF LISTS: The 10 Best scoops of the year

1. Mandelson-aided Hinduja Brothers' passport application, The


Blair's trusted lieutenant could not have picked more controversial

applicants to support (alleged Middle Eastern arms dealers) or a more

controversial reason for doing so (promised cash for the Millennium

Dome). The Observer's scoop began weeks of press coverage culminating in

Mandelson's resignation.

2. Sophiegate, News of the World

With an outrageous Arab sheikh disguise and bags of indiscreet comments

about husbands, in-laws and the prime minister, this story had all the

hallmarks of Whitehall farce - or a classic scoop. Great stuff for the

News of the World that not only ruined the image of the next Diana,but

single-handedly changed the rules on royals' business interests and

coloured Windsor coverage for the rest of the year.

3. Terrifying - reporter walks on to Stansted passenger jet, The


Less than two months after the horrific events of 11 September, a

reporter for The Mirror strolled on to an airliner as it waited in its

hanger at Stansted and had his photograph taken in the cockpit. Chilling

evidence that the lessons of the tragedy were not being learned quickly


4. Internet Twins adoption scandal, The Sun

Those lovable Kilshaws were first introduced to us by The Sun back in

January. It was one of the longest running scoops of the year with

characters that you couldn't take your eyes off - no matter how much you

wanted to.

5. US paratroop raid was bungled, The Guardian

When the Pentagon released footage of a special forces mission with the

message that they could hit the Taliban at will, they omitted to mention

that the troops in question walked straight into a carefully prepared

ambush - or that three of them were seriously injured. The Guardian

latched on to the story, fuelling growing doubts as to how the war was

really going.

6. Lockerbie - The Lost Evidence, The Mirror

In what would have been the scoop of most other years, The Mirror

unearthed evidence that the Heathrow baggage handling area was broken

into hours before Pan Am Flight 105 took off. Unfortunately, the story

broke on 11 September and events in the US swamped it.

7. Ronnie Biggs comes home, The Sun

The international hi-jinks that brought the escaped train robber back to

Blighty didn't have quite the effect on The Sun's circulation it might

have hoped for. Perhaps the paper overplayed its story, but rivals'

sniping shouldn't disguise the audaciousness of the scoop.

8. Duncan Smith's campaign aide is BNP activist, The Mirror

When Edgar Griffin answered his phone with the words "British National

Party," his chances of wriggling out of this story vanished. Ian Duncan

Smith's decision to sack him instantly might have saved his campaign

from further damage.

9. Archer's secret mistress, The Sunday People

The Sunday People found the secret mistress of the jailed Tory peer,

Jeffrey Archer, that the jury never heard about. They were too busy

digesting the publicity about his first three known mistresses. Sarah

Symonds, Archer's secret lover during his bid to become London's mayor,

kissed and told all.

10. Conservatives would cut taxes by £20 billion, Financial


Tory MP Oliver Letwin threw William Hague's election campaign into

disarray when he revealed that the Conservatives' promised £8

billion in tax cuts was a fraction of what the leadership planned.

Pledges to maintain public spending levels seemed worthless.


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