UK budget leaked on Internet minutes before speech starts

LONDON (Reuters) - British finance minister George Osborne's market-sensitive statement to parliament on the budget was leaked on the Internet minutes before his speech started.

A copy of what appeared to be the front page of the London Evening Standard, with full details of economic forecasts and changes to taxes, appeared on the blog of political commentator Guido Fawkes at least 15 minutes ahead of Mr Osborne's speech on Wednesday.

The newspaper's political editor Joe Murphy apologised for the "very serious mistake" in a tweet, as copies of the paper's front page were seen being circulated in the House of Commons as Mr Osborne spoke.

The leak comes at a sensitive time between press and political relations in Britain, with a new system intended to regulate the country's scandal-hungry press agreed on Monday.