The not quite complete Exaro archive



Historians and researchers may one day need to refer to articles put up on the Exaro website. It covered a wide range of issues from detailed investigations into allegations of child sex abuse, what Rupert Murdoch really thought about News International’s involvement in hacking and paying sources, the tax avoiders in Whitehall, the demise of the Audit Commission, business stories involving arms deals and ” dieselgate”.

Exaro has now taken down the website but fortunately a large proportion of the original articles can be seen here at this link here

However there are a number of caveats as this is  not the complete picture. This link only covers stories  published by Exaro up until the sacking of its editor in chief, Mark Watts, by Exaro and New Sparta management.

After this happened  Mark Conrad and I, who took over running the site, commissioned and published a number of new articles including one by Nick Kochan on the discovery of WMD in Iraq long after the row over the issue had been concluded.None of these are on this archive  but fortunately we have captured them and they will be put up at a later date.

When Exaro folded nearly a month later mysteriously these articles disappeared.

The description of the staff who worked for Exaro was changed back to an earlier period.Some of the profiles with the exception of Mark Watts were removed as was the detail of who was running the site in the last month. So the section in this archive is not accurate.

There is one other issue in this archive. It contains a number of stories about a survivor called  “Darren”. Mark Conrad and I no longer stand by the accuracy of these articles.

Prior to the closure of Exaro  Mark and I were going to conduct a review  of all  Exaro’s child sex abuse  coverage but stopped when the website closed. This does not mean we felt that articles were wrong or that we don’t stand by them despite hostile national press coverage.

But the editorial handling of the  articles on Darren  – which was a matter of internal dispute- made us uneasy. This is no reflection  on the excellent work done by  Tim Wood as a diligent reporter on the case. We felt that the editorial management  of the story did not reach proper and thorough journalistic standards that we would expect from such an investigative site. So the end  edited result should be treated with caution.

As for the future the dedicated staff of Exaro will be looking at alternatives so the investigative journalism we strive to produce will be resurrected in the future.

My views on Exaro,the Middle East and Jeremy Corbyn before MPs resigned en masse from his Shadow Cabinet


This interview with the Lebanon based Arab News Network was about to be put up on the Exaro News  website just before it abruptly  closed. Arranged through Tim Pendry. then a director of Exaro, it puts the case for Exaro’s investigative journalism. It also discusses events in the Middle East and why Jeremy Corbyn became popular with the rank and file membership of the Labour Party. It took some time from the date of the original interview which took place at the end of March before it was put up on YouTube in June. It is rather long so I don’t expect you to listen to the lot.

Expect a sequel to this as  I am planning to do an interview with Fabrice Bardsley on The Bunker Show for Dark City Radio on what happened since for both Exaro and Jeremy Corbyn and my hopes for the future. The broadcast is scheduled to go out on August 10.




Child Sex Abuse Inquiry: An all party victory for MPs and abuse victims

No one would have thought a week ago that Theresa May, the home secretary, would have announced today an overarching inquiry into child sexual abuse.

The odds were stacked against it for the last two years as David Cameron kept insisting that police investigations had to go first before there could be any inquiry.

Today it all changed. and it was discovered that it was perfectly possible to have both an all embracing independent inquiry and complete the current police investigations at the same time.

The reason why this changed is a combination of persistent journalism, determined abuse victims and their campaigners and a group of very, very determined MPs who put  pressure on the Prime Minister and the Home secretary to act.

The biggest victors today are the child abuse victims – whose stories have been ignored, their suffering played down, and their search for justice thwarted for decades.

Now they will have – even if it takes a couple of years to complete – the promise of a tough, vigilant independent panel that will explore all avenues from  the failure to detect these scandals to how  victims can get proper help to cope with their  damaged lives. If it uses its power to abstract information from the security services and special branch we may well get to the bottom of why prominent people were protected and were safe for decades to practice their vile pursuits..

Rumours suggest that Theresa May  wants to appoint a powerful woman to run the inquiry  which would  send a powerful signal to male dominated Whitehall and Parliament that it means business.

Credit must be paid to hundreds of Twitter followers of Exaro and myself who raised questions with MPs – a powerful use of  new media to change minds and bring attention directly to the people involved./ Without Twitter it would have been much slower and more difficult to achieve the goal.

Tribute must be paid to some tireless MP campaigners – to Zac Goldsmith for the idea of all party approach, to Tom Watson for his gutsy raising of difficult questions and championing abuse victims, to Simon Danczuk for his persistence in pursuing the paedophile Sir Cyril Smith and to the heroic former children’s minister, Tim Loughton, for his organising skills and determination to seek justice and a new system of child protection that could change the climate in this country. Tessa Munt’s skills in honing the letter to the home secretary was crucial in pushing through the case.

For once I would say  the good side of Parliament has triumphed in representing the views of an outraged public who are still reeling from the exposure of loved household celebrities as paedophiles and wanted to see things changed.

Also I hope when journalism has suffered grievous damage from the phone hacking scandal  it has shown that there are investigative journalists – all my colleagues at Exaro – who are prepared to spend  time, energy and fortitude to try and expose accurately and carefully a national scandal and then campaign to get something done. I wish more journalists would do it.