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
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
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
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.