Hancock's Affair With Aide

The Sun

The Sun’s world exclusive on Matt Hancock’s affair with his aide and in turn breaching his own social distancing rules led to a national public outcry and, within 72 hours the resignation of the health secretary.

The story has had more views than any other in The Sun’s history, and as Britain's number one news brand in terms of daily, weekly and monthly reach reaching over 30 million people a month, clearly a contender for breaking news story of the year. This was an open and shut case of public interest of an MP and senior member of government breaking the very rules he had made, and behaving with extraordinary hypocrisy when the public were at home isolating and unable to hold the hands of dying loved ones in care homes and hospitals. Not just a Westminster bubble story – this had huge cut-through with the general public. The fact the minister was using public money to pay the salary of the woman with who he was having an affair only added to the story's significance. The distribution of the scoop was just as carefully planned knowing the story would have massive reach online with the words and pictures, with the print product held back to ensure that rare occurrence of the public waking up to a genuinely huge news story, and one that would develop and continue to break news. Usually, newspapers put the next day’s content on their websites at around 10.30pm, and other news outlets can then pick up the story. We put nothing online until after 1am and held back the physical copies of the print edition. The story led to national cut-through and wall-to-wall coverage, with the story and The Sun's political editor, Harry Cole, being on every TV channel and programme, website, and news provider. With the original story landing Friday morning, the full video was also kept back for a full day until Friday night, proving The Sun’s modern newsroom thinking, realising print is just one important element of how we reach the nation’s consciousness and how the story may progress. On Friday night, the video was finally released creating even more conversation, and leading to the eventual resignation of the health secretary on Saturday. Media journalists and commentators we're just as much interested in the journalism as the story itself. The Sun's editor-in-chief Victoria Newton appeared on BBC channels to discuss the scoop and relevance of tabloids to break stories and hold account those in power, as well as as writing for News Statesman diary feature in which she detailed how the Sun got its Matt Hancock scoop - both of which led to more pickup by national news providers as well as discussion online. In the aftermath of the expose, following an ICO enquiry and subsequent raid of two homes to find the leak of the story, The Sun stood up for a free press as an instrument of democracy.