Monday, March 05, 2007

Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill - update

The next stage of David Maclean's Private Members' Bill, which seeks to remove Parliament from the scope of the FOI Act and introduce a new exemption for MPs' communications, has been provisionally timetabled for Friday 20 April 2007. The Bill is listed as the first item of business on this day which means it will have up to 5 hours for debate on the floor of the Commons.

A detailed Research Paper on the Bill has been published by the House of Commons Library, which includes an appendix on the application of FOI legislation to parliaments in other jurisdictions.

A petition opposing the Bill has been created on the Number 10 E-Petitions website. The petition creator, Barry Winetrobe, gives the following details:
"The Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill, from David Maclean MP (a member of the House of Commons Commission, which runs the House of Commons) plans to exempt the UK Parliament entirely from its own FoI Act. It seems to have informal support from some Ministers, and has passed its early stages with virtually no discussion or opposition. FoI would still apply to all the devolved parliaments/assemblies; what is so different about Westminster? Is it because MPs dont like us knowing about their expenses or other activities in detail? Westminster operates on our behalf and should remain fully accountable to us, just as it expects other public bodies to be accountable to it and to us."
The deadline to sign the petition is 28 February 2008. To sign you will need to give your name, email and postal address. Email/postal addresses will not be published.

No comments: