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Reporter's date with Newsnight after political scoop

A local newspaper reporter made it onto Newsnight after landing a top political scoop.

Sanchez Manning of the Wood&Vale – part of the Ham&High Series – was the only journalist present at a local Tory association meeting when its parliamentary candidate suddenly quit.

The candidate, Joanne Cash, is a close political ally of party leader David Cameron, and her resignation after a heated row with constituency chairman Amanda Sayers made national headlines.

Although Ms Cash withdrew her resignation less than 24 hours later, the incident had been held up as proof of tensions between Tory ‘modernisers’ and ‘traditionalists’ and has since led to reams of analysis by political pundits.

The meeting of the Westminster North Conservative Association had been shrouded in secrecy but Sanchez, responding to a tip-off from a contact, slipped unnoticed into the meeting and watched the drama unfold.

Once word began to spread about the meeting, producers for Newsnight came knocking and political editor Michael Crick recorded an interview with Sanchez for the BBC show.

Sanchez said: “I didn’t savour the thought of being grilled by Jeremy Paxman, but I relaxed once I realised it was a pre-recorded interview in the pub.

“All the attention which followed was quite strange but obviously I was still pretty happy I managed to pull off the story.”

Geoff Martin, editor of the Archant-owned Wood&Vale, said: “Sanchez beat the national newspapers on their own doorstep to get the biggest scoop of the year – and it was all because of her determination to uncover the truth.

“This is a triumph for local journalism.”