John Stevens

Daily Mirror

John Stevens has dominated the news agenda with scoop after scoop demonstrating his determination to hold power to account.

His bombshell Partygate tape showed for the first time footage inside one of the lockdown-busting gatherings in Westminster during the pandemic. It captured Tory aides joking about “bending” Covid rules as they drank red wine and twirled each other around the party’s headquarters when socialising indoors was banned. The video powerfully exposed - in a way that had not been seen before - how some at the heart of power did not follow the rules in the same way as the public. It was filmed in December 2020 - shortly before the Christmas when many were not able to see loved ones. A week before publication, one of the senior Tory officials featured in the video was awarded an OBE in Boris Johnson’s resignation honours, while Shaun Bailey - who also attended the bash - was handed a peerage. The video prompted calls for him not to take his seat in the Lords. The footage - which featured at the top of broadcast news bulletins for days - quickly became the most watched video in the history of the Mirror website. It also clocked up almost 5 million views on the Mirror Politics’ fledgling TikTok account where John explained its significance. The Metropolitan Police reopened its investigation into the gathering and issued 24 fines. In the past year, John has led the Mirror’s Save Our Ticket Offices campaign, uncovering how proposals to shut counters at almost every railway station in England would impact disabled, elderly and vulnerable people - and how ministers attempted to avoid closures in their own constituencies. As well as giving a voice to the paper’s readers who feared the hearts of their communities were being ripped out, his painstaking research revealed how passengers would be put at risk of being swindled by crooks. He also exposed how ministers had encouraged train bosses to draw up plans for the closures. Thousands of readers joined an online rally organised by John, bringing together campaigners to encourage people to take part in the public consultation. Following the biggest ever response in such an exercise, the Government announced that all 974 ticket office closures would be cancelled. John also exposed how the Government was not truthful when Suella Braverman was caught speeding. After he learnt the Home Secretary had received a ticket for driving too fast, her team repeatedly insisted this was not true. Using a transcript of one of his telephone conversations with her special adviser, he was able to show he had denied four times that the Cabinet minister had been rapped for speeding and claimed it was "nonsense". Instead the official suggested someone was spreading "scurrilous" rumours about her. The reporting raised troubling questions about the Government’s dealings with journalists and triggered a Cabinet Office investigation. It is essential journalists - on behalf of the public - are able to trust the information they are given by Government.