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The Paul Foot Award 2018

THE 2018 Private Eye Paul Foot Award for Investigative and Campaigning Journalism has been won by Amelia Gentleman of the Guardian for her Long-term UK residents classed as illegal immigrants campaign. Her investigation centred on tightened immigration regulations and the catastrophic consequences for a group of elderly Commonwealth-born citizens who were told they were illegal immigrants, despite having lived in the UK for around 50 years – but with no formal paperwork to prove it.

Ian Hislop, editor of Private Eye, said: “Congratulations to Amelia Gentleman for a campaign that was revelatory, important and amazingly effective. This was the Windrush scandal – where a cabinet minister was thrown overboard and the ship of state nearly sank.”

The award was set up in memory of revered journalist Paul Foot, who died in 2004, to honour the UK's most brilliant, talented and determined journalists working in the fields of investigative and campaigning journalism today. The other finalists for the 2018 award, listed in alphabetical order, were:


Gordon Blackstock
- Sunday Post
Hundreds of orphans buried in mass grave

Carole Cadwalladr - The Observer
The Cambridge Analytica files

Madison Marriage - Financial Times
Men only: inside the charity fundraiser where hostesses were put on show

Sean O'Neill - The Times
Oxfam sex scandal cover-up

Investigations team - BuzzFeed
From Russia with blood


In addition, The Young Journalist Award was given to London Student duo Ben Van Der Merwe and Emma Yeomans for their Toby Young and UCL's secret eugenics conference investigation, which was jointly published in Private Eye.

Padraig Reidy, chair of the judges, said: “It was difficult to pick a winner out of so many extremely high-quality entries for this year's award. The judges were impressed by the tenacity of Amelia Gentleman's work, her determination to tell the stories of the victims of the government's hostile environment policy, and the enormous impact her work had, proving that good reporting really can make a difference. Congratulations to Amelia and all the shortlisted reporters. Journalism is in safe hands, not least those of the team at London Student, who made national news with their excellent reporting on dubious conferences at UCL.”

This year's judging panel comprised Julia Langdon, political journalist and broadcaster; Simon Jenkins, the Guardian; Helen Lewis, New Statesman; Francis Wheen, Private Eye; Matt Foot, criminal defence solicitor; and Emma Youle, Archant Investigations Unit. The winning campaign was awarded £5,000, with the other 5 shortlisted campaigns each receiving £1,000.

THE PRIVATE EYE PAUL FOOT AWARD FOR INVESTIGATIVE AND CAMPAIGNING JOURNALISM 2018 – THE WINNER

Amelia Gentleman, The Guardian
Long-term UK residents classed as illegal immigrants

Amelia Gentleman's campaign centred on tightened immigration regulations and the catastrophic consequences for a group of elderly Commonwealth-born citizens who were told they were illegal immigrants, despite having lived in the UK for around 50 years – but with no formal paperwork to prove it. The Guardian reported threats of deportation to home countries for some, and on others who were denied NHS treatment, benefits and the chance to travel. The issues raised by this campaign ultimately led to the resignation of home secretary Amber Rudd, promises of more humane policy by her successor, and a pledge that members of the “Windrush” generation would no longer be threatened with deportation.

THE PRIVATE EYE PAUL FOOT AWARD FOR INVESTIGATIVE AND CAMPAIGNING JOURNALISM 2018 – SPECIAL INVESTIGATION Award

Ben van der Merwe and Emma Yeomans, London Student
Toby Young and UCL's secret eugenics conference

This investigation started with a tip-off that a Cambridge lecturer had attended a secretive London Conference on Intelligence event at UCL that covered genetic difference and intelligence. The ensuing investigation by the London Student team discovered similar yearly conferences had been held at UCL – and attendees included prominent alt-right and neo-Nazi figures. Following Toby Young's appointment to the board of the Office for Students, they discovered that Young had been among the 2017 conference attendees, a story they subsequently pitched to Private Eye and a collaboration was agreed to publish jointly.


The Paul Foot Award was set up in memory of revered investigative journalist Paul Foot, who died in 2004.

Paul Foot, an investigative journalist, editor and left-wing campaigner, worked variously for the Daily Record, the Daily Mirror, The Guardian and Private Eye. He was involved in many high-profile campaigns throughout his illustrious career, including the Birmingham Six, the Bridgewater Four and the John Poulson scandal. His accolades include the Journalist of the Year, the Campaigning Journalist of the Year, the George Orwell Prize for Journalism and in 2000 he was honoured as the Campaigning Journalist of the Decade.

Paul Foot died in 2004 at the age of 66.


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