Conservative leader David Cameron has pledged to help stop the exemption for Parliament from the Freedom of Information Bill. There are many who feel it is rank hypocricy for MPs to ask that everyone else is open to requests for information, but want their own dealings kept secret. It raises three interesting questions. Will the Tory Lords work to throw out the measure completely or amend it? Why wasn’t Dave against it before? and what is Gordon (aka The Next Prime Minister) going to do about it? I feel that this is particularly rich
coming from a government that tells other countries to open up in the name of governance and transparency and yet allows its own working to remain in the shadows. I went to the launch of a superb Dfid document yesterday on Governance, Development and Democratic Politics. FCO minister Ian McCartney gave a really impressive and passionate speech in favour of democracy around the globe. The paper trumpets the fact that:
“By 2006 nearly seventy countries around the world had aadopted comprehensive ‘Freedom of Information Acts’ to facilitate acccess to records held by government bodies…”
It’s a shame that UK MPs are trying to make our FoI laws a little less comprehensive….
Although Cameron’s position is unclear, the Liberal Democrat one is much clearer – indeed, Ming Campbell’s today launched a lobbying campaign of members of the House of Lords: http://www.ourcampaign.org.uk/foi