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Case update 11 January 2022

Pork barrel politics: an update

Nazar Gonchar / Shutterstock

Despite receiving permission from the Administrative Court to bring our pork barrel politics judicial review, and an order to have it heard on an expedited basis, we have somewhat reluctantly decided to withdraw our application.

The decision is based on legal advice about our likelihood of success following disclosure by the Government of its documents. We took the decision to bring the case, in part, following a message from a senior source inside the Cabinet Office, which we received via a highly trustworthy intermediary. The intermediary told us: “Officials came under enormous pressure from Ministers to favour Tory seats or winnable marginal seats; the criteria were fake and last-minute.”

However, the documents the Government disclosed to us tell a different story. And, when asked, the Cabinet Office source declined to provide corroboration.

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The legal advice we have received is that, on the basis of the documents, the Government has disclosed, we have low prospects of success.

We wish we could tell you with confidence that it is our source who is mistaken. But we cannot. Our experience is that the Government’s, or its lawyers’, compliance with its so-called “duty of candour” – to put its cards ‘face up on the table’ – is inconsistent and sometimes poor. Sadly, we cannot rule out that our source is right. But given the prospects of success we do not think it would be responsible for us to spend more money on this case, or indeed, require the Government to do so.

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