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Reuters first to break details of British government Brexit legislation, causing major market impact

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a Cabinet meeting of senior government ministers at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London, Britain, September 1, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville/Pool

Last week, Reuters was ahead with the news that the British government planned to break international law by ignoring some parts of its European Union divorce treaty.

Reported by Elizabeth Piper, UK chief political correspondent, and William James, UK political correspondent, the story sent sterling down more than half a cent against the U.S. dollar in 30 minutes, to $1.2885, its lowest level since 28 July.

Hundreds of broadcasters across Europe, Middle East & Africa and Asia used Reuters coverage of the latest row with Brussels.

Key to the success of the story was Piper receiving the government’s document before anyone else, and James being prepared to send the alerts on the wire.

James says: “We knew the legislation would be difficult to read in legalese language, so a word search for ‘Northern Ireland’ and ‘international law’ was essential to start with.”

Piper adds: “The team was set up with colleagues primed and ready to find the news fast, allowing them to produce news flashes of the most significant headlines. This was a winning formula.”

[Reuters Press Blog]

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