The Mail on Sunday
With contacts across the political divide, The Mail on Sunday’s Political Editor leads a team that gives readers a unique insight into the truth behind the Westminster façade. Typical was his exclusive story on the resignation of Brexit Minister Lord Frost from Boris Johnson’s Government. It had rival papers rushing to catch up and offer their own front-page verdicts on a huge political flashpoint. The scoop was particularly devastating because the Prime Minister had tried to keep it secret. Frost had quit a week earlier but Johnson persuaded him to delay announcing it for several weeks in the hope that he would change Frost’s mind. But after Owen learnt from a trusted source that Frost had walked out - disillusioned with ‘the direction of Tory policy’ - the truth could not be kept hidden from voters. Inevitably, his exclusive dominated the headlines for days – just as so many of the MoS Political Editor’s Sunday humdingers do throughout the year. Lord Frost’s resignation lit the fuse for the eventual collapse of Johnson’s administration and six months later Owen also broke the story that proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. On the MoS’s front page, Owen revealed that the PM had joked with aides in 2020 about Tory MP Chris Pincher being ‘handsy’ and saying: ‘Pincher by name, pincher by nature’. It directly contradicted the claims made by Downing Street the previous week - when Pincher had lost the Tory whip as a result of groping allegations - that the Prime Minister had not been aware of any related claims before appointing him as Deputy Chief Whip in February. The PM resigned four days after our story broke.
Owen also broke the stunning exclusive that Liz Truss’s mobile phone had been hacked by agents suspected to be working for the Kremlin. The idea that Putin’s goons had gained access to huge amounts of material over a period of a year from Truss’s phone was not just a Westminster story. At a time of global fears that Putin might trigger World War III using nuclear weapons, the scoop had monumental significance. It immediately triggered widespread demands for an investigation into the state of the UK’s cyber-defences. Owen had obtained the story from a trusted Whitehall source. Despite the usual refusal of the Government to comment on security matters, he managed to corroborate the information with a senior civil servant while his Westminster colleague and MoS columnist Dan Hodges worked on his own security contacts. Their joint-bylined front-page splash made headlines around the world. In a world of spin, treachery and untruths, Owen artfully navigates the piranha pool to tell it as it is, not as politicians would like the newspaper-buying public to believe. A political editor who breaks all the best stories.