This legal challenge is a last resort. Boris Johnson's government is refusing to take the unequivocal recommendations of parliament's own Intelligence and Security Committee that it says are essential to protect our national security. It is refusing to even answer questions on the matter.
The legal challenge
We are initiating legal action against Boris Johnson's government for failure to investigate foreign state interference in the UK's democratic process.
The Citizens has joined forces with a cross-party group of MPs and peers to send a pre-action letter asking the government why it has refused to investigate Russian interference in our elections even though its own Intelligence and Security Committee insists is essential for our national security.
Alongside Chris Bryant (Labour), Lord Strasburger (Lib Dem), Alyn Smith (SNP), Caroline Lucas (Green) and Ben Bradshaw (Labour) & Baroness Wheatcroft (ex-Conservative) we have written to the government asking a set of questions. The government now has two weeks to respond. If it fails to give us a full and open response to these inquiries, we plan to take legal action and seek a judicial review.
Under article 3 of Protocol 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights we have the Right to a Free Election. This is an absolute right. And we believe that we are being denied this by the government's failure to:
- investigate foreign state interference in the UK's democratic process;
- have a legal framework which provides the conditions to ensure the free expression of the people in the choice of the legislature.
"The outrage isn't that there was interference. The outrage is that no one wanted to know if there was interference".
Kevan Jones MP member of the UK Intelligence and Security Committee
Over the coming months we will continue to investigate, report and produce content that explains the facts - looking behind the smoke and mirrors. We will pursue justice for our democracy through the courts.
We hope you will join us and support this case. It is essential that keep the pressure on the government. We need to protect our future elections. We need the truth.
Our legal team
We are working with Tessa Gregory and Tom Short of Leigh Day solicitors and our counsel team consists of Ben Jaffey, QC, of Blackstone Chambers, Richard Hermer, of Matrix Chambers, and Natasha Simonsen of Blackstone Chambers.
We need your help to protect our democracy and we need legitimate funds from the public to make sure we can do this in an accountable and transparent way. Funds will primarily be used for legal fees, anything left over will be used for additional investigation and public engagement.
We must protect the democracy so many fought to give us, and preserve it for future generations. Please help us.
The Citizens is a non profit UK company limited by guarantee. We are a transatlantic community dedicated to protecting democracy from data-driven disinformation.
Our core mission is to hold big tech, political parties and government to account through evidence-based reporting, creative storytelling and citizen activation.
We are funded by grants from foundations, donations from the public - and philanthropists.
We run a range of projects to raise public awareness about issues affecting democracy, empower citizens to act, and hold power to account through investigations and litigations. Our work is for the public benefit.
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