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Evening Post scoops nations press

The Bristol Evening Post scooped the nations press when it revealed that Tony Blair’s son Euan had chosen to study at Bristol University.

The exclusive prompted a Downing Street announcement which confirmed the Evening Post’s story and was followed up by many of the nationals the following day.

The Evening Post’s story could have be seen as controversial after a Press Complaints Commission ruling against The Daily Telegraph earlier this year said that his university application process was a matter for him.

But after discussing the story at a high level, the Evening Post decided the story was safe and that it should be published.

Evening Post news editor Kevan Blackadder said: “We were aware of the guidelines. The difference was that we had established where he was actually going. Problems with previous stories had been that they were just speculation.

“We knew it was bound to get out, but we got the story first.”

The Evening Post’s page three lead, written by the paper’s education reporter, Ian Turner, told how 18-year-old Euan had accepted a place at Bristol University and would begin a three-year degree course in ancient history this autumn.

Ian had been tipped-off from a source at the university, but officials refused to confirm the story.

However after making further enquiries Ian was able to ensure that the story stood up.

A spokesman for the PCC told Holdthefrontpage that it had not received any complaints regarding the story, and that it couldn’t comment further on any individual case.

The PCC censured The Daily Telegraph earlier this year after it carried a story about Euan which said he had applied for a place at Oxford. It upheld a complaint from the Blairs who said the report broke the PCC’s rules about stories relating to the children of famous parents.

In its adjudication the PCC said that the acid test that any newspaper should apply in writing about the children of public figures who – like the Prime Minister and Mrs Blair’s children, and unlike the Royal Princes – are not famous in their own right is whether a newspaper would write such a story if it was about an ordinary person.

It said academic achievement or successful entrance to a University might fall into such a category, but private choices about the nature of such an application, or indeed private details about an individual’s time at university, would not.

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