This site was launched in 2010. I was a computer programmer with time on my hands, I wanted to know what my MP had been doing in the House and, short of laboriously going through every day's voluminous transcripts by hand, Parliament’s dated and hard to use site wouldn’t tell me.
So I launched Open Parliament in order to quench my own curiosity, to push Parliament to do better, and to promote the idea of open data. Open data—the idea that the information governments hold is most useful when free for sharing and reuse, not locked up—was something almost nobody in government cared about then. I couldn't get access to Parliament’ data files, so I painstakingly recreated them from their website via a wobbly tower of rules—if it's a 14-pixel font, it's probably a person's name, as long as it's not within a table and it doesn't contain the words The, Some, One, or An, or Assistant—that took many days and more frustration to get right.
In the years since 2010, lots has changed for the better. The public now has access to many of Parliament’s data files. Most politicians and civil servants are aware of the idea of open data, and government data is far more easily available. And, now and then spurred on by this humble site, Parliament’s own site has improved by leaps and bounds, to the point that it’s now a better resource than Open Parliament for most people. And for those who prefer the way this site presents the goings-on of the House, I’m happy to keep it running, and to continue sharing my work in the hope that others will continue to benefit from it.