Freedom of Information Amendment Bill

PRESS RELEASE BORIS JOHNSON MP Freedom of Information Amendment Bill Commons 3rd Reading Closure Motion - Ayes: 117 Noes: 22 The House of Commons has voted on the Closure Motion for the 3rd Reading of this controversial Private Member's Bill, which seeks to de-list the House of Commons and the House of Lords from the Freedom of Information Act 2000, which currently applies to them. It now goes to the Lords. The Bill frequently refers to the 'complex' relationship between the Freedom of Information Act, the Data Protection Act 1998, and Parliamentary privilege. But Boris finds, not for the first time, that existing laws are adequate. While there may be scope for fine-tuning, he believes they already offer a fair balance between the privacy of the individual and the public's right to know about Parliamentary business. 'We are continually shooting ourselves in the foot, and the public will look at this and think all we are trying to do is protect ourselves from rules that, after all, apply to everybody else. It is quite wrong. Of course constituents have a right to privacy, but that is in any case assured by data protection rules.' Full text, Hansard and summary of the Bill.

25 thoughts on “Freedom of Information Amendment Bill”

  1. Good for you Boris , did you vote against then ? I didnot notice the name .

    Who is Melissa Kite ? How does this trite twit get to be Political Editor of the Telegraph ?

    Anyone ?

  2. Boris, as much as I like your blog, your writing today is very easy to say, today!

    It should have been said, in the house, on Friday.

  3. ‘Of course constituents have a right to privacy, but that is in any case assured by data protection rules’ (Boris)

    It can be assured by Section 40 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. I don’t believe for one minute that there is any MP out there that doesn’t know this either.

  4. This seems to be what it is all about:

    The Campaign for Freedom of Information has circulated a briefing to MPs in advance of the debate. The briefing states:

    “We believe it is misleading to describe the Bill as a measure designed to protect constituents’ personal information. Its main effects will be (a) to prevent requests for details of MPs’ expenditure from being disclosed and (b) to protect MPs’ correspondence with public authorities on matters of general policy from disclosure. We do not believe either of these changes is justified.”

    “We think it would be wrong for Parliament to exempt itself from a disclosure regime which it has applied to the whole of the public sector. The detailed expenses of ministers, judges, chief constables, councillors, civil servants, local authority chief executives and other public figures and officials are all disclosable under the Act…The particular case for exempting MPs’ expenses alone has not been made.”

    “The Bill proposes a new exemption to cover all communications between an MP and a public authority.

    This has been justified on the grounds that it would protect MPs’ correspondence on behalf of their constituents from disclosure under the Act. If this is its purpose it is unnecessary, as such correspondence is already subject to at least two (and in some cases more) separate exemptions.”

  5. Perhaps we could persuade Boris and his colleagues to sign up to this.

    We the undersigned …petition the Prime Minister to implement a full Freedom of Information Act. There is no justification in Government business being executed in a shroud of secrecy. The Government works in our name, therefore access to ALL business should be free and immediate.

    http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/InfoFreedom/

  6. Right on comrade Boris, but the man’s right, let’s see some action as well as these words. Convince me that what you’ve said is true, that the Tories have changed.

    Did you speak or vote against it? I don’t feel up to reading Hansard yet!

    I wish you’d hi-jacked the debate and gone for Zimbabwe rather than Iraq way back then.

  7. The division is here:
    http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2007-05-18&number=119&showall=yes#voters

    Well done to Clappison, Redwood and Shepherd (Con), to Corbyn, Cousins, Fisher, Jackson, Linton, Mactaggart, Sheerman, Soulsby, Winnick (Lab), Baker, Burstow, Burt, Cable, Farron, Goldsworthy, Harris, Heath, Howart, Hughes, Öpik, Reid, Sanders, Swinson, R. Williams, S. Williams

    Quite frankly, shame on the rest of the MPs and double shame on the people voting FOR it.

    A very large number of ministers on that list….

    … this is a very unpopular (and unnecessary) amendment. To not oppose it seems self serving.

  8. We are continually shooting ourselves in the foot

    So I see. I wonder, Boris, will you be telling your constituents that despite all your talk you didn’t bother to vote?

  9. Chris,

    To be fair to the esteemed Boris, neither did most of the other MPs….

    What’s that you say? That’s what we pay them for? Ah…. I see what you mean…

    A cynic (heaven forfend!) might wonder how many of the MPs were absent as a) they don’t want to be seen to vote for it, but hope it goes through if they don’t vote against it.

    Once again, we seem to be relying on the ‘undemocratic’ Lords to look after the public interest.

    For those curious about how their MP voted, you can go here:
    http://www.theyworkforyou.com/

    For the record, this is how Boris appears, the first item is what concerns us here:
    * Has never voted on a transparent Parliament.
    * Moderately against introducing a smoking ban.
    * Moderately against introducing ID cards.
    * Strongly against introducing foundation hospitals.
    * Strongly against introducing student top-up fees.
    * Moderately against Labour’s anti-terrorism laws.
    * Very strongly for the Iraq war. votes, speeches
    * Moderately for investigating the Iraq war.
    * Very strongly against the fox hunting ban.
    * A mixture of for and against equal gay rights.

    http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/boris_johnson/henley

  10. Freedom of Information

    I note that Boris is commenting that the proposed amendment to the Freedom of Information bill is unneccesary.
    Shame he didn’t vote against it.
    Well done to Clappison, Redwood and Shepherd (Conservative), to Corbyn, Cousins, Fisher, Jackson, Lint…

  11. This is an utterly outrageous piece of legislation and an affront to modern democratic processes. Typical New-Labour doctrine though. Lie, spin, cheat; if all else fails hide the evidence.

    All this bill will provide is a much desired veneer of protection for Labour scoundrels to milk public funds with impunity.

    This is hearsay, but I have heard that certain US Mafia bosses have refused deal with Labour MPs because they’re too crooked.

  12. Everyone seems to be saying the same thing Boris writes one thing but does another. The same thing is also true about his attitude to Europe where he is signed up to a Cameroon pact not to mention it.

  13. The complexity of current legislation, referred to above, is being used as a smokescreen to push through this outrageous legislation. Confuse people enough and the opposition will wither in despair.

    Thank God for clear thinkers like Boris, who can see straight through it. This is nothing more than an attempt by MPs to hide their expenses sheets and avoid other inconvenient questions.

    When was the last time a constituent had reason to complain about a breach of confidentiality with their MP?

  14. Well said, Boris, you are so right. So, what is the answer to the rampant political corruption which is destroying our country?

    Perhaps the most recomended comment made to BBC’s Have Your Say on the road pricing topic has it?

    “This has nothing whatsoever to do with congestion. There will be no reduction in traffic because 99.9% of people will still need to drive a car. They’ll simply just pay more for it, and NuLabour are very aware of this because they have done nothing to improve or introduce any alternatives.

    The principal aims of this absolute travesty are:

    1. Increase revenue
    2. Track movement of the law abiding populace
    3. Create more admin jobs
    4. £billions Contracts for their friends’ companies

    Civil War I’m With Boris Johnson”

    Me too. So what’s the plan, boss?

    Auntie Flo’

  15. I forgot to add that the above BBC Have Your Say topic has 326 votes to date – which makes it a runaway success by BBC HYS standards.

  16. This bill would never have been approved in America ie the USA , which has a proper constitution of English feelings and rights all written down . They would have torn Maclean et al to bits for even suggesting it .
    Just another nail in the sovereignty of parliament – long overdue to be subverted by the sovereignty of the people – the English people that is .
    In 1688 the soveroeignty of the king was ended and his powers transferred wholesale to parliament which has been sovereign ever since – NOT the people .

    Parliament is now in such disrepute and the Westminster villagers of all parties so remote and self absorbed that perhaps we should finally establish power , via a written ENGLISH constitution , where it always should have lain – with the people and allowed on a limited and conditional basis only , to politicians .

  17. You’re right Jake, the US is much more democratic than we are. They have a system more akin to PR, they elect their judges and police chiefs too. Hence they execute their multiple killers, dish out life without parole to people unfit to partake in a civilised society and make child sex offenders live under motorway fly-overs. All things the majority of ordinary decent law-abiding people actually approve of.

  18. Well if you couldn’t be bothered to vote what do you expect?

    You could of course take a stand now; publish your expenses anyway, there’s nothing to stop you doing that. Publish them monthly, put your “money” where your mouth is.

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