Sam Coates

Sky News

The last 12 months have been among the most consequential in post war political history, and Sam Coates has guided Sky News viewers and readers through every step of the turbulence.

During Liz Truss's premiership he previewed the danger of the mini budget as something which "could fall foul of investors,", revealed splits between the Chancellor and PM and was first to break the news that Truss was to make a statement in which she announced her resignation. Since Sunak took over, he was first to comprehensively outline the full Windsor Framework, revealed the meeting with King Charles to give the Framework his blessing, and was again first to anticipate that the part-cancellation of HS2 would be announced at party conference. Coates has stood apart this year with his ability to break out of the day-to-day Westminster treadmill and reveal exclusive stories from around the country. The main vehicle for this was the Westminster Accounts series investigation; a groundbreaking examination of the role of money in politics. His investigation: - Demonstrated the scale of MPs' outside earnings - over £17 million - and showed that MPs earn 17x the national average hourly rate in their second jobs. - Exposed the loopholes allowing some donors to escape full checks. Over 20 Tory MPs received thousands of pounds from a firm whose registered office was near-derelict. - Uncovered how top Labour MPs got cash from a secretive company with no route to contact or detail of where that money comes from. - Revealed how Labour and Keir Starmer received donations from the firm of Just Stop Oil founder Dale Vince. This fact has since dominated the political landscape. - Also showed how ex Lib Dem leader Tim Farron took donations from a company which he set up himself. His investigation into the influential Northern Research Group of Tory MPs triggered a formal probe by the body that polices how MPs spend public money. Coates revealed a pattern that appeared to show MPs using public cash to sign up for the group before being rewarded with campaign donations in the following weeks. Despite the complexity of the subject his story-telling was clear and generated huge public interest: - In the first fortnight alone there were 134 pieces of coverage about the Westminster Accounts investigation - The project has had 4.65 million page views on the Sky News website and app, with a further 2 million on our social platforms. Coates has taken his investigative political journalism outside London. He uncovered the extraordinary tale of how a Tory Police and Crime Commissioner in Cleveland, Steve Turner, triggered an investigation by the force he oversees into two of his political opponents. Three separate police home visits took place after Turner complained about a Labour leaflet, sparking calls for the PCC's resignation. All this demonstrates Coates’s agenda setting reporting - a unique combination of investigative work around the country coupled with high level coverage of Westminster, often breaking exclusive stories, and his essential analysis.