I got round to reading
today that the Press
Gazette was patting itself on the back for its campaign to stop or slow
down the legislation to change the FOI Act by putting restrictions on requests
by way of cost.
Quite right that
the Press Gazette and the Campaign for Freedom of Information along with many
other campaigners and bloggers should have taken up the issue.
That this has had
a success in getting Baroness Ashton to agree that the original date set for
this legislation of 19th March to be laid before the House may now well be delayed, “It will be
for the business managers to tell me what date I’ve got and that will be in the
public domain as soon as I know it”. she is quoted as saying, so this is
obviously for technical reasons but it does not change the fact that the
legislation in the form of a Statutory Instrument will still go forward, whilst
not having to admit that they had been caught out trying to slip one through
whilst parliament was on its Easter break.
The fact that just
11 days after the end of the public consultation before laying this before
parliament shows that a) the government does not want the debate b) that it
knows that in the lead up to a break most MP’s either wont be about or will be
disinterested and c) is determined in one way or another to stop us seeing what
they are doing.
We think that the
government are happy not to labour the point as to do so would create the
debate that they wish to avoid, and to accede to the machinations of the press
and campaigners in this instance is a better route as it knows that there is
other legislation that will effectively do a far better job of gagging any FOI
bill will amend the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to exempt from its provisions the House
of Commons and House of Lords
and correspondence between Members of
Parliament and public authorities
This bill is now
in committee, and as a Private Members bill, David MacLean can choose the committee members to sit.
The effect of
this bill will be to make every government department, agency, ngo, Pfi project
and any other group that works with government SECRET.
Sorry to say
Press Gazette, you missed the important one, because if the MacLean bill goes through, the only copy you will have to print is the propaganda that you are given.