The sneaky Private Member's Bill, introduced by David Maclean MP (Conservative, Pentrith and The Border), the Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill is due for its Report stage in the Commons this Friday 20th April 2007.
This deceptively short Bill seeks to exempt the House of Commons and the House of Lords from the Freedom of Information Act, to which there are already far too many exemptions.
The only reason for this Bill appears to be in order to hide the details of the expenses paid to Members of Parliament from being revealed through FOIA requests, something which the Parliamentary authorities wasted public money to fight against unsuccessfully recently.
It would also prevent the Freedom of Information Act being used to probe future Parliamentary (rather than Government) disasters, like the massive, unnecessary cost overruns incurred during the building of Portcullis House office accommodation.- £238 million for only 200 MPs offices i.e. nearly £1.2 million per MP, or the millions spent on the useless "chemical and gas proof security screen" in the Public Gallery of the Commons, which did not stop the "purple flour" protesters.
Please lobby your Member of Parliament e.g. through WriteToThem.com, or better still, in person, to ensure that this Bill does not sneak through on the quiet.
There is also a Petition on the Prime Minister's website against this Bill
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to oppose the Private Members Bill exempting Westminster from the FoI Act 2000
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.