Daily Express

Campaigns have always been the lifeblood of the Daily Express. Indeed the paper’s founder Sir Arthur Pearson was a heroic advocate of greater support for military veterans blinded in conflict. Today that tradition continues under Gary Jones, whose editorship since 2018 has made the Express a powerful voice that seeks to challenge injustice, protect the vulnerable and achieve concrete improvements to life in Britain. 

This campaigning ethos has been at its most prominent in the long fight to maintain the Triple Lock on the state pension. Introduced in 2010 as a guarantee of the pension’s value against the ravages of inflation, the measure has come under tremendous political pressure recently. But so far all attempts to weaken this safeguard have failed, partly due to the stalwart defence mounted by the Express. In urging the Government to stand firm, the paper has not only produced a continual stream of news, columns and reports which have revealed the vital role of the Triple Lock in maintaining pensioners’ incomes, but also has galvanised readers to join the fight through vast petitions and polls. 

The reluctance of Ministers of the Opposition to consider change is a tribute to the Express’s effectiveness. Other campaigns have obtained tangible results. This month Parliament passed what has become known as Zak’s Law, which makes the online abuse of people with epilepsy an offence punishable by up to five years in prison. Inspired by 12-year old Zak Eagling, who decided to fight back after he had endured a barrage of sickening web attacks, the legislation was strongly backed by the Express, prompting Government Minister Paul Scully to praise the paper’s “tireless efforts for change”. Further success came from the Express’s campaign to tackle the consequences of the cruel practice whereby the widows of military veterans had to forfeit their pensions, worth £7500-a-year, if they either remarried or co-habited with a partner. The practice ended in 2015 but payments were not backdated, which meant that at least 200 war widows lost out. But the Express eventually achieved victory in the long battle for fairness and the pensions were restored. Another welcome outcome was achieved through the Express’s Compassion for Dying campaign, which demanded that the terminally ill, in the final year of their lives, should be eligible for a range of welfare benefits, including Personal Independence Payments and Disability Living Allowances. 

As he confirmed that the Government had accepted this case, Tom Purslove, the Minister for the Disabled, praised the paper for “helping to bring about positive change.” As well has promoting specific measures, Express campaigns have also significantly influenced the national conversation about key issues facing out society. So the fight for better mental health services has been strengthened by the paper’s By Your Side initiative, which the charity Mind says has pushed the issue “up the political agenda”, while the Crusade to Save our High Street Banks has highlighted the alarming closure of branches at a rate of 54 a month. Similarly, the paper’s Campaign on Assisted Dying continues to inform this highly sensitive question and has helped to persuade the Commons Health Select Committee to launch an inquiry. That is just one element in a highly impressive record.