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The Tories’ last-ditch attempt to silence us on the PPE scandal

The government is bringing legal proceedings against Good Law Project to stop it publishing an explosive new PPE story.

Last week we asked the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) – and the company in question – to respond to a story we proposed to publish about astonishing undertakings given to secure a lucrative and controversial VIP contract.

The story emerged from minutes of the Covid Clearance Board – the body which approved new PPE deals during the course of the pandemic. An organisation working with Good Law Project lawfully obtained a redacted copy of those minutes. But those redactions had been botched and could be undone to uncover an extraordinary revelation – one we think you ought to know.

DHSC replied to our request for a comment with a formal letter before action headed: “Proposed Urgent Injunctive Relief” and said, unequivocally, that “if you indicate that your intention is to publish such information, we intend to seek an urgent interim injunction to prevent publication.” It asked us to make a variety of further promises including that we would “delete the incorrectly-redacted FOIA Response” and tell them who we shared the story with.

We agreed to tell them if we planned to publish the story – but we refused to give them the broader undertakings they sought. Late on Monday, we told them we would publish at 12 noon on Wednesday 3 July. We have instructed a law firm and Counsel to act for us in those proceedings. We expect that defending the injunction will cost around £50,000 – including costs if the government succeeds.

Details

Your donations will be used to resist the urgent injunction the government has promised to bring.

10% of the funds raised will be a contribution to the general running costs of Good Law Project. It is our policy only to raise sums that we reasonably anticipate could be spent on the work we are crowdfunding for. However, if there is a surplus it will go to develop and support further work we do to fight for a better and fairer future for all.

Promoted by Good Law Project Ltd, 3 East Point, High Street, Seal, Sevenoaks, Kent, United Kingdom, TN15 0EG

Crowdfunder Updates

  • 15/07/2024

    An agreement with the new health secretary

    We have finally agreed an order with the new health secretary that we will not publish information we hold that, his lawyers say, may prejudice an ongoing criminal investigation into a VIP lane case until that investigation ends or the material comes into the public domain. We successfully faced down his surprising attempt to compel us to destroy information we hold on this and other cases – and we will publish our story at a later date.

    We have agreed that he will pay his costs of applying for an injunction and we will pay our very modest costs of resisting it.

  • 03/07/2024

    New information from the health department

    Over the weekend, and into Monday, we were communicating with the health department as to why, it said, we should not publish our story. We asked for and obtained further details of those reasons and took the view, having consulted with our specialist legal advisers, that its reasons as then stated did not amount to a proper basis for us not to publish.

    Late last night, when it shared with us details of its proposed injunction application, it significantly refined its position from saying that the information was commercially sensitive to now saying how that information is said to specifically relate to an ongoing criminal investigation. We will consider this position with a questioning eye but obviously will not want to cause real prejudice to the prospect of criminal accountability.

    We will continue to keep you updated.

This crowdfunder is now closed.

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