The Department of Business Innovation and Skills, currently headed by Vince Cable has finally caved in and admitted it broke the law in its battle with Libertarian Party Leader Andrew Withers.
Andrew issued the following statement this morning:
“In another turn of events in the five year battle against the Department of Business,Innovation and Skills, the Treasury Solicitor acting on behalf of Vince Cable has agreed to settle Andrew Withers Leader of the Libertarian Party legal costs out of Court in relation to a Data Protection Request made in October 2009 in relation to Data held on him by the private office of the then Secretary of State Peter Mandelson. Despite being ordered to release the data by the Information Commissioner in September 2010, the Department refused to admit any such data was held by the private office.
In October 2010 Andrew with the agreement of the Office of the Information Commissioner applied to the High Court for an order under sec 7(9) Data Protection Act for the private office to reveal the data held. The Treasury Solicitor chose to defend the action with a witness statement from the data protection officer saying that the data ‘simply did not exist’ . The Hearing was scheduled for January 28th 2011, European Data Protection Day.
Two days before the hearing the Treasury Solicitor asked for a adjournment, introducing an apology and a witness statement that data did after all exist.
The Data from Mandelson’s Office is heavily redacted ‘to protect the officials concerned’ but it does show an extract that Andrew was targeted.
Previously solicitors for Vince Cable on November 12th 2010 objected to a District Judge, to Andrew being the Leader of the Libertarian Party. This was withdrawn on December 3rd 2010 in a telephone conference with the District Judge.
The Treasury Solicitor has agreed to settle costs out of Court by the 28th February 2011, and the Data Protection Officer concerned has agreed to make further Data available in relation to the private office upto January 28th 2011.
Andrew Withers said yesterday- It is clear that the State despite the Freedom of Information Act and the Data Protection Act is still addicted to secrecy, not out of concerns of national security, but to cover the tracks of public servants who are either incompetent or acting on other agendas, personal or political. “
Andrew has since been confirmed as the Leader of the Libertarian Party UK (LPUK).
Notes for editors
1) The Libertarian Party was founded on November 21st 2007 and officially launched on January 1st 2008. The party’s website can be found at: http://www.lpuk.org
2) Further details of the party’s policies can be found in our manifesto:
3) The Libertarian Party UK is a minarchist party utilising political philosophy based on support for individual liberty.
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