Gabriel Pogrund

Sunday Times

This was a fitting tribute to a year in which Gabriel has produced stories on the most powerful people and institutions in public life. His work has changed perceptions, led to official investigations, and achieved accountability and impact on national scale.

In January he revealed Richard Sharp took part in talks about a loan of up to £800k for Boris Johnson weeks before the PM made him BBC chair. Owing to self-interest, and through a series of omissions, both men concealed this from those who mattered: the appointments panel, the DCMS select committee and, of course, the public.

Our reporting also illustrated how power was exercised: Notting Hill dinners; brush bys in No10; a chat with Simon Case. No one challenged what was happening. Not even Case. When politicians withhold information and the system protects them, journalism is the solution. An inquiry found our reporting was not, in Johnson’s words, “rubbish”, but evidence the appointment broke the rules. Sharp resigned immediately.

In September, Gabriel revealed Liz Truss’s chief aide, Mark Fullbrook, was paid through his lobbying firm and had only seconded himself to No10 in an unprecedented arrangement. Whose interests did Fullbrook, an ex-tobacco lobbyist, have at heart? Did it have tax implications? Would he be bound by the civil service code?

As well as exposing dysfunction in government, the scoop, one of the few of her brief premiership, helped, in some way, to correct it. Truss put Fullbrook on the payroll...briefly.

Gabriel delivered similar impact soon into Sunak’s premiership when he revealed Gavin Williamson’s expletive-laden texts to Liz Truss’s chief whip. In them, Williamson threatened Wendy Morton over whether he would get to attend the Queen’s funeral. Their menacing tone placed Sunak’s claims about “integrity” and “accountability” in government under immediate strain. It also triggered others to come forward with bullying allegations. Williamson soon quit.

The same followed when Gabriel revealed allegations against MP David Warburtion: not only of sexual misconduct and drug abuse, but serious financial impropriety. The Somerton and Frome byelection was another example of how Gabriel’s journalism has shaped politics.

Of course, journalism isn’t not just about impact, especially when institutions are impervious to scrutiny; where the achievement is telling the truth at all. This brings us to the a spy who killed his child after MI5/MI6 ignored warnings about his health and sent him to infiltrate Al Qaeda. We can only say a limited amount about Gabriel’s reporting for this story, but the result was 5,000 words of deep research on the spooks’ role in an infant’s death. It included evidence such as the services’ psychiatric report revealing their spy was the most unstable person they had seen. We can’t know if anyone is investigating: the Intelligence and Security Committee could not tell us if they were. Such a system illustrates exactly why reporting like Gabriel’s matters.