Left-wing news website Left Foot Forward has become the latest member of the political lobby – the body of journalists based in Parliament.
Editor Josiah Mortimer said receiving the pass meant the decade-old website had “properly entered the fray as a respected left-wing voice”.
The 24-year-old told Press Gazette it had been his “vision” to “push forward progressive and evidence based journalism both from within Parliament and outside it” since taking the helm in July last year.
He added: “I thought this would be a great opportunity to work on that within the belly of the beast.”
A self-confessed “political geek”, Mortimer said he put in an application to join the lobby in October last year, since which time left-wing website Evolve Politics has also joined the body’s ranks.
Mortimer said taking Left Foot Forward to the “next level” and gaining a greater reach in Westminster was behind the drive to sign up.
He added: “I think it’s that mixture of the very clear benefits of just having better access to Parliament and its inner-workings and also that soft power of being able to grab five minutes of with a politician and really find out all the talk that’s going on around the major issues of today…
“Being part of it is a real honour, but we are also not going to get too comfortable. We will keep making sure we are doing all we can to be a platform for grassroots voices.”
He added: “It’s a really interesting time for the website, from going to a small left-wing blog to an accepted and respected part of our media landscape… it’s a nice recognition.”
Left Foot Forward was established as a political blog in 2008 by Will Straw – son of former Labour Home Secretary Jack Straw – who was also its first editor.
The website has three part-time editorial staff, with Mortimer saying it is a “hand-to-mouth and slim operation,” but one that “packs a punch”.
He added that Left Foot Forward has “balanced books” as a business and is funded by a not-for-profit co-operative called Political Pixel, which is sustained by donations, advertising and events.
The website is a sister title to Labour List, which also has a lobby journalist in editor Sienna Rodgers.
While Mortimer said the site is “quite proudly a left-of-centre website”, he did not disparage the largely right-wing national press, saying he thought there was “fantastic journalism at all of the major newspapers”.
He added: “We like to think the more the merrier – we aren’t just left in our politics, we are left in the breadth of the media landscape. It’s good to have as broad a progressive media as possible really.”
The UK political lobby has well-over 300 members from across national, regional, online and international news organisations.