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Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill (to hide MPs detailed expenses) - Report stage in the Commons this Friday

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.


Will the Campaign for Freedom of Information's lobbying succeed in getting MPs to defeat this sneaky Bill ?


Half a cheer - this Bill has been filibustered out of time by keeping the debate going for 5 hours.


Normally the Government indicates that it is going to oppose a Private Member's Bill, or, rarely, that they will support it.

In this case, either through incompetence or sneakiness, they did neither, on the day when the Westminster Village was pre-occupied with the news of Downing Street apparatchik Ruth Turner's arrest in the ongoing the Cash for Honours scandal criminal investigation.

Nooo! It returns from beyond the grave!!!

MPs' info exemption bill revived

@ Doctor_Wibble - If David Maclean had any honour, he would withdraw this Bill now.

How can there be "No other Private Member's Bills ready for debate" on Friday ??

This rather smacks of covert Labour Government support for this Conservative Private Member's Bill.

From the 'forthcoming business' list there's a whole bunch of stuff for this Friday already and they are all at the second-reading stage - though I guess I'll need to read the procedures to see what that actually means (whether a simple announcement or a debate, and who decides?)...

Perhaps honourable members can raise five hours' worth of tediously detailed and long-winded Points Of Order :D

It's just been pointed out to me that Friday's debate ended with the ominous words:
" It being half-past Two o'clock, the debate stood adjourned.
Debate to be resumed on Friday next."

I thought it was supposed to go to the back of the queue!

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