Freedom of Information

For more, click hereI 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, Linton, Mactaggart, Sheerman, Soulsby, Winnick (Lab), Baker, Burstow, Burt, Cable, Farron, Goldsworthy, Harris, Heath, Howart, Hughes, Öpik, Reid, Sanders, Swinson, R. Williams, S. Williams (Lib Dem) for voting against it. By far and away the biggest section of the commons voting for it were labour MPs. Actually, the vast majority never even showed up.

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

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

I have had a reply from my MP, Michael Gove. he said that

I have not voted to support the Bill at any stage but should point out that the issues that it deals with are more complex than it would appear from some reporting.

There have, since the formation of the Freedom of Information Act, been some legitimate concerns about constituents" correspondence becoming public through FOI requests. While this should not be possible under the Act if requests are made directly to the MPs, the situation when requests are made to the bodies to which the MP has written is not as clear.

I am pleased that Mr Speaker has written confirming that, should the Bill pass, the level and detail of Member of Parliaments" expenses reported to the public would remain unchanged. It is right that scrutiny of how public money is being spent should remain rigorous which is why I strongly support the publication of my own spending, including that which goes on my staff and travel.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact me.

So... what aspect of the law needs changing again to prevent personal details being obtained? These are covered under data protection, as Boris points out. To me, this read as 'I'm not going to stick my head above the parapet and vote for it, but I'm quite happy for it to pass....'

The simplest thing is for MPs to stick in their letters a sentence which says 'I must remind you that my constituents details are protected from disclosure under the freedom of information act'.

The Lib Dems have a campaign page for this issue

Update: Cameron will campaign to block the bill 'in it's current form'.... that's a bit open ended, isn't it boys and girls?

Update: Martin Rosenbaum on Falconer's position (who seems to have thought this one through, unlike some other cases I could mention)