Fiat Knox

I’ve been following The Good Law Project for many weeks, and in the last week of October the Project has come up with some stunning revelations about the current tory government.

Purpose of The Good Law Project

The Good Law Project is a campaign which aims to hold the Government to account for their activities, which could be seen as showing a disregard for the law.

The Good Law Project’s website, here, bears the strapline “Our mission is to achieve change through the law.” Since the campaign’s inception, they have fulfilled that promise, by exposing Governmental deceit and corruption.

Here are some of this year’s highlights.

Transparency

The Good Law Project is committed to transparency, as they stated in their 2021-09-13 article “How do we choose our cases?“:-

We are not a charity that exists to serve narrowly defined legal purposes. We don’t have the simple logic of businesses that exist to maximise their profits. And, although we must foster a relationship of mutual respect and trust with the public who fund us, we have other stakeholders too to whom we must account. Those stakeholders include our staff team, those we seek to help, and indeed to progressive civil society more broadly.

What we certainly do recognise is an obligation to be transparent about why we do what we do. We value the accountability that comes with transparency: we believe it sharpens our thinking, it makes us better. We also recognise that the act of articulating what we are for – and the transparency and accountability it promotes – is a way that we can distribute power that might otherwise too readily accumulate in too few hands.

Trans Rights

The press is relentlessly transphobic. Social Value UK pointed out, in their 2021-06-17 article here, that

Some of the most contentious and sensitive issues handled by IPSO relate to the reporting of transgender matters. Coverage generates broad, sometimes heated debate, and raises complex questions around balancing reporting freely on important societal issues with the potential impact on vulnerable individuals.” [Charlotte Dewar, Chief Executive of IPSO] [article]

Social Value UK describes the situation as “indicative of worsening standards.”

One case in point was the Bell vs. Tavistock case, which is a decision of the High Court of Justice of England and Wales, on the question of whether puberty blockers could be prescribed to under-18s with gender dysphoria. [Wikipedia]

Initially, the ruling went against the trans kids; but The Good Law Project managed to quash that judgment in the court of Appeal.

In a huge win for trans people and their families, the Court of Appeal has today reversed the judgment handed down in Bell v Tavistock by the Divisional Court. 

The Court of Appeal said that “the [original] claim for judicial review should have been dismissed” outright and points out that it “was inappropriate for the Divisional Court to provide the guidance” in the first place. 

The judgment is a resounding success for the Tavistock and those of us who supported their appeal.

NHS England will now need to review its current guidance on puberty blockers and consent, in light of the appeal judgment.

Major Revelations

Their biggest case, however, is still ongoing – the NHS Contracts Scandal. The Good Law Project has been going to court to get the Government to reveal details of how NHS contracts were handed out, and frankly where all the money’s gone.

In the last two months alone, they have discovered some shocking finds.

VIP Lane

[article] When we last shared evidence of a VIP lane for testing contracts, Government told the world our claims were ‘completely false’.

Today we can reveal astonishing new emails between civil servants that prove there was a VIP fast track to award testing contracts to firms favoured by ministers. Abingdon Health, the testing firm awarded £85m of contracts without competition, went ‘through the VIP route’.

The article reveals the Minister who had been so dismissive of the accusations, but who turned out to be a sponsor of one of these private groups.

Private Messages

[article] Speaking of that Minister, both Lord Bethell and Matt Hancock have been told to hand over their private correspondence, which took advantage of commercial services such as Whatsapp and Signal in breach of the law.

For months, Government has been refusing to hand over evidence in our challenge concerning Abingdon Health, the testing company awarded £85 million worth of contracts without competition. Yesterday we took Government to Court to fight for this evidence – and we had a good day. 

The Judge ordered the search of Matt Hancock’s WhatsApp messages and personal email accounts. We believe this is the first time a Judge has ordered a Minister, or ex-minister, to hand over their personal WhatsApps and text messages.

In fact, the Judge seemed to share our view more generally that Government’s explanations for why they haven’t recovered information from Ministers’ devices simply do not stack up, and he ruled as follows:

  • Lord Bethell must provide a Witness Statement to the Court to explain – once and for all – what happened to his phone.
  • Government needs to provide a Witness Statement to the Court explaining how they are going to ensure they recover all the necessary data from Bethell’s phone.
  • In addition to coughing up Lord Bethell’s private emails, Government must also trawl Matt Hancock’s personal emails and WhatsApps for relevant information as to how these contracts came to be awarded with no competition.

The Judge had more to say on the conduct of The Good Law Project.

The Judge remarked yesterday that Good Law Project is “holding the government – correctly – to high standards of conduct, both in the awards of contracts and generally” – and we will continue to do so.

That Gove

In an email to subscribers [2021-10-19], the Project revealed more news, this time about Gove.

Good Law Project can now reveal that Michael Gove and Cabinet Office Minister Lord Agnew referred six firms down a fast track ‘VIP’ route to bid for lucrative Test and Trace contracts. This is the first time the names of the Ministers who referred testing firms for VIP treatment have been made public. 

Getting honest answers from this Government hasn’t been easy. When we first revealed evidence of a VIP lane for politically connected suppliers to win multi-million-pound testing contracts, Government claimed that what we were saying was “completely false”. 

But after a lengthy battle the Government was forced to admit that senior Ministers Michael Gove and Lord Agnew frequently made use of a ‘fast track‘.

Holding The Corrupt To Account

The Good Law Project’s case against the tory Government is ongoing. They are dogged and relentless, and – despite the odds – they are winning their cases; because they are working with the law, within the law, and they are doing what they promise – to hold to account those who wrongly believe themselves to be above the law.


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