Where now for Exaro?

Is Exaro News on its last legs? The online news company faces a number of difficulties.

The fundamental difficulty may be financial.

Exaro has been largely funded by the entrepreneur and hedge-fund manager Jerome Booth. In 2013 Dr Booth was named the 425th richest person in Britain in the Sunday Times rich list (at £189M his wealth was slightly greater than Rolling Stone Keith Richards). Sadly (according to the rich list), he has been losing money recently – £73M last year – reducing his wealth to a mere £112M, and relegating him to a disappointing 847th= in the 2015 list (in the same period, for what it is worth, Richards has increased his wealth to £210M). As we shall see, Dr Booth’s involvement with Exaro does not seem to have eased his cash flow problems.

It all started in 2011 when he was approached by the journalist Mark Watts, and PR man Tim Pendry. Their objective was to set up a news gathering organisation that would, as Exaro’s mission statement now puts it, “hold power to account.” Continue reading

Charlotte Proudman has over-reacted to her sexist suitor

The top solicitor Alexander Carter-Silk has been made to look a bit of a plonker by human rights barrister Charlotte Proudman.

Charlotte Proudman

Proudman: Delicate porcelain beauty

Ms Proudman is an accomplished barrister, an academic and a successful, albeit amateur, politician (she is an active member of the Fabian Society). She is also a beautiful woman.

He sent her a private Linked-In message complimenting her on her profile picture.

Charlotte, delighted to connect, I appreciate that this is probably horrendously politically incorrect but that is a stunning picture !!!

You definitely win the prize for the best Linked In picture I have ever seen

Always interest to understand people’s skills and how we might work together


It was indeed horrendously politically incorrect. Continue reading

Harvey Proctor, Exaro and the pursuit of justice

Harvey Proctor’s news conference on Tuesday was either a chilling display of hypocrisy, or the moment a brave man finally took on the combined might of a misguided Metropolitan Police and a small but nasty and highly influential section of the press and internet. By so publicly denying the appalling allegations that have been levelled at him, Mr Proctor has ensured that his accuser’s claims – that he and other boys were raped and tortured, and in three cases murdered by a paedophile ring that also included Leon Brittan, Ted Heath, various Generals and the heads of MI5 and MI6 – can no longer be ignored.

The allegations come from a man with the pseudonym “Nick.” Amongst many other appalling sexual crimes Nick says that Mr Proctor threatened to castrate him with a pen-knife and was stopped from doing so only by the intervention of the former Prime Minister, Sir Edward Heath. And worse even than this, Nick accuses Mr Proctor of murdering two boys, and implicates him in the murder of a third. No bodies have been found and the identity of the boys allegedly murdered – though the subject of considerable online speculation – is unknown. Continue reading

WIltshire Police were wrong to name Sir Edward Heath

On 3rd August 2015 Wiltshire Police made an extraordinary announcement:

Sir Edward Heath has been named in relation to offences concerning children. He lived in Salisbury for many years and we would like to hear from anyone who has any relevant information that may assist us in our enquiries or anyone who believes they may have been a victim.”

The context of the appeal for witnesses was that the Independent Police Complaints Commission were investigating Wiltshire Police over an allegation that a 1992 prosecution of a Salisbury woman, Myra Ling Ling Forde, had been dropped after she threatened to drag Heath into the case.

Earlier this week she insisted through her solicitor both that Heath was never one of her clients, and that she never threatened to name him. I was surprised to hear of the allegation, because I was her barrister in that case and it certainly never crossed my mind that Heath had anything whatever to do with her acquittal. Continue reading

We shouldn’t draw the wrong conclusions from Ben Fellows’s acquittal

The acquittal of Ben Fellows on a charge of perverting the course of justice by falsely alleging that he was “groped” by Ken Clarke during the making of a television programme is in danger of being misunderstood.

The allegation was that he had falsely told the police that after he had been plied with alcohol at a party, Ken Clarke had groped him, by touching his genitals over his clothing. Mr Fellows was described in the prosecution opening speech as a “an inventive and sometimes persuasive fantasist”. Continue reading

The Government’s Policies on the Human Rights Act and the EU are an incoherent muddle

The vast majority of Conservative MPs are united in the belief that Parliament should be sovereign and the British Supreme Court should be supreme. Yet the Government has embarked on a plan which (if it succeeds) will effectively entrench the precise opposite of what its MPs actually want.

The problem arises from a misunderstanding of the Human Rights Act and a failure to address the constitutional realities of EU law.

On the Human Rights Act, the Prime Minister has instructed Michael Gove to press ahead with preparations for its repeal and replacement by a British Bill of Rights.

Any sensible Conservative ought to realise that the repeal of the Human Rights Act is not just unwise but, if you are worried about Parliamentary sovereignty and the supremacy of our courts, entirely beside the point. The Act requires the Supreme Court only to “take account” of Strasbourg decisions, not to follow them; and it gives courts, whether British or European, no power to strike down Acts of Parliament. Under the Human Rights Act the Supreme Court is supreme and Parliament is sovereign. Continue reading

Committing Electoral Fraud to Back Jeremy Corbyn Is a Bad Idea

The latest polls in the Labour leadership election suggest that Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn has his nose in front. It is hard to trust the unattributed briefings reported in the New Statesman this week, but one “campaign staffer” (presumably, although the report does not say so explicitly, a Corbyn supporter) said “he is in a commanding position … he is on course to win.”

Jeremy Corbyn wearing his "Lenin" style cap. (David Martyn Hunt)

Jeremy Corbyn wearing his “Lenin” style cap.
(David Martyn Hunt)

Bookmakers’ odds tend to give a more reliable picture than anonymous quotes, and here too the picture is pretty clear: www.oddschecker.com shows that the best price you can now get on Mr Corbyn’s victory is 4-1, and even for that you must move fast: several are quoting him at 3-1 . At the start of the election you could back the hirsute Marxist at 100-1.

Mr Corbyn’s standing has been helped by a campaign led by, amongst others, Toby Young. Young is an unlikely Corbyn supporter. Indeed, he is generally sympathetic to the Conservatives, and for all I know he may even be a Party member. He is particularly well-known for helping to found the excellent West London Free School. Continue reading


A Guest Post by David Aaronovitch

David Aaronovitch

David Aaronovitch


Earlier this year BBC Radio 4 broadcast two programmes in the Analysis strand, which I made together with a BBC producer, Hannah Barnes. Ritual Sexual Abuse: the Anatomy of a Panic part one was broadcast on the 25th May and part two went out a week later.

I was asked to make these programmes because I had expressed a concern in various writings that some of the new accusations of historic VIP abuse of children, and the way in which sections of the media were handling them, were reminiscent of the “Satanic Panic” of the 80s and early 90s. During that time it was widely alleged and believed that a substantial number of Satanists and other cultists were or had been involved in complex rituals –involving child sexual abuse and even child sacrifice. Then, by the mid-90s the panic subsided. I felt that by analyzing that past panic we might better understand some aspects of the present. Continue reading

Cyprus Paedo scare: a near kidnapping or a near lynching? Mark Williams-Thomas must get to the truth.

As the Euro teeters yet again on the edge of complete collapse and Greece faces up to the possibility of economic Armageddon, the British press have been even more exercised about another issue in the Eastern Mediterranean: a Romanian paedophile ring operating in a Greek Cypriot hotel.

The suspected paedophile gang has apparently been preying on children staying at the Anastasia Beach Complex Hotel in Protaras.

Hard facts are difficult to disentangle amongst a vast amount of often contradictory reports, rumour and speculation. It probably doesn’t help that some of the guests at the hotel were enjoying a wedding party at 8.30 p.m. last Tuesday. Continue reading

Who is more ridiculous: the Naked Rambler or the CPS?

My client Stephen Gough, an ex Royal Marine better known as the Naked Rambler, has now been in prison, largely in a segregation unit, for the best part of 9 years. Once the remission rules are taken into account, that is the equivalent of a sentence of nearly 18 years. It is about what you would expect to get if you committed a rape of an eight year old child. By my very rough calculations the cost of imprisoning him (ignoring altogether legal and police costs) for those 9 years has been about £330,000.

His offence has been that he won’t wear clothes in public.

Who is being the most ridiculous here: Mr Gough or the Crown Prosecution Service? Continue reading