Steven Swinford

The Times

These entries demonstrate what we regard as the cornerstone of Steven’s reporting - giving readers the inside track on what is actually going on in government and thus fostering public debate.

The first concerns one of the pivotal moments in British politics over the past year - the downfall of Boris Johnson. In June 2023 Steven exclusively revealed the findings of an investigation by the Privileges Committee into Johnson's role in the Downing Street parties scandal, four days before the official findings were published. The report was shrouded in secrecy. Revealing its contents in full - including the central conclusion that Johnson had deliberately misled MPs and forensic detail about the committee's reasoning - represented a significant scoop. It dominated the news agenda for days afterwards. The privileges committee brought an end to Johnson's career in frontline politics - for now at least. Another scoop demonstrated the breadth of Steven’s reporting. In July he lifted the lid on one of the most contentious issues in Rishi Sunak's government - trans guidance for schools. His front-page report revealed that the guidance was going to be delayed after the Attorney General advised that the government's plans to strengthen it were unlawful. The report itself was based on a detailed readout of the Attorney General's legal advice, prompting a major leak inquiry. But what was particularly revelatory was the extent of what the government was planning to do. It disclosed for the first time that the Government wanted to ban social transitioning - allowing children to be treated as members of the opposite sex - in schools entirely. It looks likely that the government's position on trans rights, particularly in schools, will play a central role in Sunak's general election campaign. Steve's final entry concerns the government's decision to cancel the final leg of HS2. The report, a week before Conservative Party conference, revealed both the government's decision to axe the Northern leg of HS2 and the strength of opposition. In his reporting Steven established that two former prime ministers - David Cameron and Boris Johnson - were opposed to the plans along with Michael Gove, the levelling up secretary. Johnson was so incensed that he gave The Times exclusive quotes warning that a "mutilated" HS2 would be "insanity", in doing so reigniting his long-standing feud with Sunak. The Tory opposition to Sunak's plans dominated the conference and marred his central announcement. On the final day of conference Cameron went public, accusing Sunak of acting against Britain's long-term interests - something Times readers has already known for over a week. These three exclusives demonstrate what we view as Steven’s strengths – the first in leading coverage of pivotal moments in Britain's political history, the second in exposing the inner workings of government as policy is made and the third in shaping major political events.