openDemocracy: Now Boris and Gove know they can’t get away with it!


Peter Geoghegan and the openDemocracy team

Sometimes it seems impossible to hold Boris Johnson’s government to account. 

But this week, we pulled off something pretty unusual. After our journalism exposed a secretive government unit [see links below] accused of ‘blacklisting’ journalists and blocking ‘sensitive’ Freedom of Information requests, we got all the major UK newspapers to join us in a public demand to save our information rights.

These rival Fleet Street editors – Times, Guardian, Telegraph, Mail and more – almost never speak with one voice. So when they do, the government has to listen.

Already, it’s working. Tory MPs are demanding answers from Michael Gove and calling for an “urgent” investigation into our findings. And MPs on two powerful parliamentary committees have vowed to pursue the issues we’ve uncovered with Cabinet ministers.

We’re not going to let up now. We’re chasing down fresh leads and gearing up for a court case to protect our Freedom of Information rights.

But we can’t do it without you. Will you pledge a regular donation, so we can keep going at this vital moment?

It’s taken a team of three specialist journalists working for more than 18 months, drawing on a far wider network of experts and allies, to get this far. It’s time-consuming, meticulous work – but it pays off.

Just today, my colleague Jenna Corderoy released a story showing how the government was slammed by the regulator for dozens of “unacceptable” Freedom of Information failures. 

This really matters. Without FOI, we wouldn’t know that MPs were claiming thousands of pounds in taxpayer-funded expenses for duck houses and moats. Or that Prince Charles was privately lobbying the government.

But now FOI is under unprecedented threat – with response rates at a 20-year low. We even found out that the housing ministry told local councils it was “appropriate” to block FOIs on which buildings still have Grenfell-style cladding.

There’s no excuse for this – and together, we can hold them accountable. Will you support us today?

We’re not funded by dark money or corporate ads, and we don’t have a paywall. That’s why we rely on readers like you – anything you can contribute really does make a difference.

Thank you,

 


Peter Geoghegan and the openDemocracy team

 

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