Lobby journalist uses crowdfunding to launch site offering real-time view of life at Westminster

PARLY, a new parliament-focused project by lobby journalist Tony Grew, has raised a quarter of its crowdfunding target after a week.

The new website will aim to provide real-time updates on what’s happening in Parliament as a live feed, using pictures, videos and snippets of news.

Grew is looking to raise £15,000, and so far £3,750 has been pledged via the site crowdfunder.co.uk. Fundraising began on 7 April and will end on 28 April.

Grew, who spent six years as Parliament editor for Politics Home and In House, the Commons’ in-house journal, said he hopes to provide an outlet for the kind of details that often end up on Twitter.

For example, Grew said that during the vote in the last day of this Parliament on the rules for electing the speaker, he could tell from the mood in the chamber that the government had lost about five minutes before it was announced. Or the fact that he recently saw jazz musician Jamie Cullum going to an MP’s party.

These small pieces of information could have a home on PARLY, he said.

Grew said: “I want to create something that is interested in Parliament as a place, as a community. Parliament is an intensely social place.

"I want to make parliament more accessible and more interesting for people. PARLY will be a new digital portal for people to find out more about what goes on there and why."

PARLY will look at the characters, mood and procedure of Westminster, Grew said, rather than just “contentious debates and exchanges in the Commons”.

If the campaign reaches its funding target, Grew also wants to develop a PARLY smartphone app and have a section dedicated specifically to reporting the House of Lords, which he said “rarely gets any attention”.

The website will have a full launch on 19 May, when the House of Commons is scheduled to meet for the first time.

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