16th November 2020: The Guardian

My contribution to Sir Harold Evan's obituary in the Guardian
Harold Evans, the son of an engine driver, did much as the editor of the Sunday Times to resist government attempts to drastically reduce Britain’s rail network.

In October 1972 the paper revealed plans that would see no railways west of Plymouth, nothing in Scotland north and west of Perth and Aberdeen, only a single line to Great Yarmouth, and much more of the same. It had been sent a copy of a secret report by Richard Hope, the editor of the Railway Gazette, who had received it from a civil servant, Reg Dawson. They took huge risks in revealing what was in this “Blue Book”.

Evans was interviewed and told that he and two of his reporters faced prosecution under the Official Secrets Act. The phones of staff on the Railway Gazette, at home and at work, were illegally tapped and one was threatened with having his gay relationship exposed. But once the phone tapping was exposed in the Sunday People, the appetite for an anti-press witchhunt diminished and the attorney general found that there was insufficient evidence to charge anyone.

A link to my contribution in the guardian here