I began my career as a student journalist in 1965 after I secured a last minute place at Warwick University to read history and politics.
The university was brand new and every single society and organisation had to be created by the students themselves. This is why in the most extraordinary circumstances I ended up editor of the first university newspaper, Giblet, after only a few weeks. The paper a down to earth scandal sheet was a rival to Gibbet, a more pretentious arts magazine, named after Gibbet Hill Road, the first address of the university.
In 1968 after a brief period on the dole he got his first proper journalist job as an indentured junior reporter on the Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph and Wellingborough.
Three years later after nearly being sacked- for not stopping hmy wife, Margaret heckling Enoch Powell during a Parliamentary by-election meeting at Wellingborough and winning my first journalist award – I joined the Western Mail in Cardiff.
Suffered 18 months under the most ferocious news editors of all time – John Humphreys (no relation to Today programme presenter)-before getting job on the Times Higher Education Supplement in 1973.
Joined the Guardian in 1976 where I was lucky to break first scoop on Jim Callaghan’s infamous yellow paper – the first time a PM decided to intervene in the school curriculum-sent in a brown envelope to the THES and redirected to him at the Guardian.
I became Planning Correspondent ( which then covered local government, transport and housing as well as planning; and later social services correspondent, covering social security and health as well as social services.
In 1986 I went down to the Parliamentary lobby as Westminster Correspondent covering both Whitehall and Westminster. I won three awards for investigations – the most serious being the ” cash for questions” scandal which led to the bankruptcy of Ian Greer Associates, one of the country’s biggest lobbying companies and the resignations of two junior ministers, Neil Hamilton and Tim Smith, who have since left politics.In 1998 he also caused the first resignation of Peter Mandelson, over a secret undeclared £373,000 home loan given to him by fellow Treasury minister, Geoffrey Robinson. Mr Mandelson’s political career has since been stratospheric.
I took voluntary redundancy from the Guardian in June 2009 but have remained in Parliament as Westminster Correspondent for Tribune and a freelance writer with articles appearing in the last four years in the Sunday Telegraph, Mail on Sunday,Guardian,Independent, the People IPPR Journal,The Journalist and British Journalism Review. On-line in the Guardian’s Comment is Free, politics.co.uk, p and have written a blog, Tory tracker, for Progress. I was also head of current affairs for two years at Raw Cut TV.
I was jointly in charge of Exaro News, a City financed website until it folded last July , covering Whitehall, politics, the City,media, local government and tax issues. I am still in the middle of a long investigation into historic paedophile rings in the London borough of Richmond, the Roman Catholic Church and involving VIPs and politicians . I also investigated Rupert Murdoch and am still reporting on issues in Whitehall.
And I am working freelance contributing to the Fire Brigades Union campaign to stop privatisation of emergency services and investigating the companies and people behind the privatisation and doing some research and articles for the Unite union on cuts.
Occasional appearances on Al Jazeera English including general election night and BBC Newsnight.
I have written two books with Francis Beckett, The Blairs and Their Court, an unauthorised biography of the former Labour leader ( in paperback as The Survivor) and Marching to the Fault Line, a new ( and among the Left) controversial history of the 1984 miners strike.
I have published this year a new book with Francis Beckett and Nick Kochan called Blair Inc which looks at the Blairs and their money making activities since they left Downing Street.
I am also a member of the Gosport Independent Panel which is addressing concerns raised by families over a number of years about the initial care of their relatives in Gosport War Memorial Hospital and the subsequent investigations into their deaths.
This year I also joined Byline.com a crowd funded website and most of my posts are also published on this site. If you want to back my work financially – as this website generates no income – you can donate on this site for as little as £2 a month.It helps keep independent journalism alive.