Freedom of Speech

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  • Dec.06.2018: Charities under gagging clauses will be allowed to speak out against government. Theresa May has pledged to review the government’s contracts with charities after a Times investigation found that dozens of the organisations had been banned from criticising ministers. In a letter to charities the prime minister said that officials were looking at how their contracts could be rewritten so that there was no doubt that they could speak out against policies. The Times found that 40 charities and more than 300 companies with government contracts worth a total of £25 billion had been gagged. Paul Organ-Bentley, The Times.
  • Nov.08.2018: Theresa May urged to stop ministers from gagging charity sector. Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, wrote to the prime minister asking her to “confirm unambiguously” that charities would not be prevented from criticising the govt. He has called on Theresa May to stop her ministers using gagging clauses after a Times investigation. He said that the use of anti-publicity clauses by ministers should be reviewed “in the spirit of open govt” and indicated that a previous letter he had written on the issue had been ignored for a month by Esther McVey, the work and pensions secretary. Forty charities and more than 300 companies have been banned from publicly criticising ministers, their departments or the prime minister, as part of contracts costing the taxpayer £25 billion. The Times analysed 38,500 documents relating to government deals signed since 2015 and found 398 contracts with “adverse publicity” clauses. These ban organisations from doing anything that could negatively affect the reputation of the department overseeing the work, or even sometimes the minister. Some organisations have also been ordered not to do anything that could “embarrass” any Crown body, a group of public institutions that includes the prime minister’s office. Maria Miller, Tory chairwoman of the Commons women and equalities committee, said that the clauses should be reconsidered across the public sector. A govt spokesperson said "Word Salad". Paul Morgan-Bentley, The Times.