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Support Surges For Crowdfunding Campaigners The Good Law Project After Pandemic Transparency Work

Support Surges For Crowdfunding Campaigners The Good Law Project After Pandemic Transparency Work

The Good Law Project have brought several cases to court regarding the PPE procurement process

3 min read

The activist group have seen a surge in support following their legal challenges against the government during the pandemic.

The campaign group at the forefront of several high-profile legal challenges against the government has seen a record number of new donors, according to their latest annual report.

The group, which has used crowdfunding to raise funds for their legal work, increased the number of regular donors from 1,918 to 12,970 in the last year, while a further 47,000 people have donated to support individual cases.

In February, the group secured a legal victory against Health Secretary Matt Hancock over his department's failure to follow its own transparency rules over the publication of PPE contracts, with a High Court judge ruling there was "no dispute" that Hancock had "failed to publish redacted contracts in accordance" with the rules.

The group's annual report states the boost in income will help fund further legal cases against the government, and establish a Legal Defence Fund to underwrite the "significant litigation costs risk we face".

Gemma Abbott, The Good Law Project's legal director, said the fund was required to counter "government attempts to stymie [our] work".

"In defending our legal challenges, it racked up legal costs in unprecedented amounts, threatening Good Law Project's viability when, inevitably, we lose a case," she said.

"Given the political sensitivites of our programme of litigation, one might consider this a tactic designed to scare us off."Further related to the procurement of PPE supplies are expected to be heard in the courts in the coming months.

Former Brexit minister David Davis, who also revealed to the group his support for the Article 50 case against the government by campaigner Gina Miller, said their work during the pandemic was "vital" to improving transparency.

"Open and transparent procurement practices are key to ensuring value for money for the taxpayer," Davis added.

"I would hope that it is making the government think twice before directly awarding contracts to companies with no track record in the area they are looking to supply.

"I also would hope light being shone on the practice of creating 'VIP channels' for those with political connections, will result in an end to this questionable practice."

He added: "Bringing this pressure on government is vital as we seek to transform the procurement process in the UK now that we have left the European Union."

Meanwhile, Fleur Anderson, shadow minister for the cabinet office, said the government's failure to improve transparency measures had forced campaigners to go to "extreme lengths" to expose information.

"The government will do anything to avoid transparency, even if that means taxpayer funds and a transparency body having to go to extreme lengths to uncover the truth," she said.

"The government's pandemic procurement has been marred by sleaze and waste."

Jolyon Maugham, Director of Good Law Project, said: "People are crying out for transparency and better governance and are appalled by the cronyism that defines this Government. .

"You can see this in our growth profile: fewer than 2,000 direct debits a month this time last year and more than 18,000 now with thousands more making one off donations every month. And we are continuing to grow at a furious rate.

"This gives us a fierce independence - less than 10% of our income comes from people giving us £10k or more so we are in no one's pocket - and means we can and will contribute to lead the fight for the better politics this country deserves."

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