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Case Update

The Tories have responded to our data challenge – but we can’t tell you what they say

2nd February 2024

Can a political party rule its legal letters are confidential and bound by copyright? The Tories want to keep what they really think under wraps.

UK Parliament TV

At Prime Minister’s Questions earlier this week, Rishi Sunak responded – smirking – to Dawn Butler’s question about whether, in light of our legal challenge to the Tories’ data grab, he was confident that they were acting lawfully: “Of course our party follows all laws.”

But when his party replied last night to the first formal step in our legal claim against it, it also insisted that we can’t publish its response. The Conservative Party threatens us with legal action if we do. It claims the response is “confidential” and “the intellectual property of the Conservative Party” and that for us to publish would be “an infringement of copyright”.

This is an odd stance to take for a party that is confident of its legal position before the courts. It’s unusual for a Government that believes in transparency and accountability to threaten to silence its critics in the courts. And to say publicly “Our party follows all laws” and to say privately “Here’s what we really think, but if you tell anyone we may well sue you” is very alarming indeed.

We will take advice from our lawyers – and report back promptly. But we won’t be deterred.

  • As the General Election looms, anything you can give to support our work will help us to protect our data rights as voters.

This article is part of our General Election: Help us stop political parties misusing your data case

We’re all working on the assumption that Rishi Sunak will find the courage to call a General Election sometime this year. Political parties are keener than ever to speak directly to you – but they can’t get into your inbox or social media feed unless they can capture your personal data.  With trust in political processes at an all-time low, being open, transparent and accountable about the use by political parties of your data is essential for a healthy democracy. But early indications show some political parties are riding roughshod over crucial data rights.

See more about this case