‘I don’t like acts of dishonesty by the state’: Jolyon Maugham QC on Covid cronyism

‘I don't like acts of dishonesty by the state’: Jolyon Maugham QC on Covid cronyism

Over the past few years, Jolyon Maugham QC, founder of the Good Law Project, has become an unmissable presence on Twitter. But unlike most keyboard warriors – anonymously vocal about Brexit, trading memes over mask-wearing and gender politics – he has only ever seen the social media platform as a means to an end. “I really don’t like this phenomenon of disinterested observers pointing out things that are going wrong,” he says. “I want to be in the club of people who actually put skin in the game to make it better, rather than merely making clever observations from the sidelines.”

The most visible expression of this commitment was the legal case that Maugham brought, in August 2019, along with Joanna Cherry MP, that saw the prime minister’s attempt to “prorogue” parliament overturned, stunningly, first in the Scottish courts and then by the supreme court. While the Twitterati had clutched their virtual pearls about Johnson’s trampling of democratic norms, Maugham saw the gaps in the legality of the government position and got swiftly to work on a strategy to expose them.

The Good Law Project was in part set up to harness some of the righteous outrage that Maugham saw on social media. It relies on crowdfunded donations of £10 or £20 from thousands of sympathetic supporters to pursue its cases – £200,000 was raised to fund the prorogation action.…

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