MPs given another chance over FOI

Jo Swinson has welcomed a Bill proposed by the Liberal Democrats to strengthen Freedom of Information rules.

The Freedom of Information (Amendment) (No 2) Bill, presented by Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake in the House of Commons today, makes it harder for the Government and other public bodies to keep information secret.

Commenting on the Bill’s presentation, Jo said:

“Labour and the Conservatives have behaved shamefully over Freedom of Information, acting contrary to the principles of transparency and accountability by voting to exempt MPs.

“We are keeping up the fight to defend Freedom of Information. With this Bill, MPs will have another chance to back FOI and go some way towards restoring the tarnished reputation of Parliament.”

Last month, the Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill, a private Bill by Conservative MP David Maclean, passed through the House of Commons. The Bill exempts Parliament from Freedom of Information laws that could force the publication of correspondence between MPs and public bodies.

The powers in the Freedom of Information (Amendment) (No 2) Bill, would:

• give the Information Commissioner and Information Tribunal, not ministers, the final say on whether information should be released

• prevent excessive delays in responding to FOI requests

• bring academies and private contractors doing a large amount of work for public authorities (so far as this work is concerned) within the scope of FOI laws.

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