Monday, May 14, 2007

MPs and ministers try to squash Freedom of Information

Philip Johnston is not impressed by the attempts of former Tory Chief Whip David Maclean MP to water down the UK's Freedom of Information Act:

"There is a threat here to the whole FoI concept, which in this country is, let us remember, still very much in its infancy. What message will it send to all those other official bodies and public authorities, more than 100,000 of them - many of whom have never been happy with the requirements of transparency - if MPs, the very people who legislated to make them open up, should now close the shutters on their own activities?

"Not only would it be an act of quite staggering hypocrisy, it would also be extremely stupid. The Government is using the Maclean Bill as a Trojan horse to bring down the city it built but no longer likes. If MPs vote to support it on Friday, they will undermine years of effort to end the instinctive secrecy of the British political culture."

I just sent this letter to my MP, Frank Dobson, via the wonderful

Monday 14 May 2007

Dear Mr Dobson,

I see that David Maclean's private member's bill to exempt Parliament from provisions of the Freedom of Information Act is under consideration again in the Commons this Friday.

I do hope that you will be able to attend the debate in order to vote against this pernicious attempt to water down one of the Labour party's big successes in improving public trust in its elected representatives.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Ian Brown.

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