The European Research Group (ERG), a circle of Eurosceptic Conservative MPs, dark money-funded lobbyists and peers, were a constant thorn in the side of Theresa May when she served as prime minister.
The ERG helped torpedo May’s Brexit Withdrawal Bill and even attempted to depose the former prime minister.
Despite receiving hundreds of thousands of pounds in public money, the ERG refused to publish a list of its members.
When openDemocracy attempted to uncover its members through a freedom of information request, the information was redacted by the Department for Exiting the European Union.
After an appeal to the Information Commissioner’s Office, the Whitehall department was forced to disclose the list of names.
Among the persons included in the released documents was a high-profile member of the Institute of Economic Affairs, a think tank that does not declare its funders.
The public has a right to know who is trying to influence government policy, so Ministers should not prevent this information from being released because it may be politically awkward,” said Transparency International’s research manager, Steve Goodrich.Print