The House of Commons did themselves a great disservice today when they allowed a third reading of David Maclean’s Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill. They have sent out a message that it is OK for them to pass laws for everyone to obey but themselves. They have slapped other elected representatives such as local councillors and assembly members in the face saying that MP’s correspondence should be exempt but not everyone else’s. Shameful.
I listened to the debate in the background this morning and heard MP after MP oppose the bill with only a handful of MPs prepared to speak in it’s favour.
Norman Baker, Simon Hughes, Jo Swinson and Julia Goldsworthy and Mark Fisher all spoke strongly against the bill along with many others who contributed. The Govt was represented by Bridget Prentice who claimed neutrality but the voting record of 78 Labour MPs in favour of the Bill spoke differently.
It will now be down to the House of Lords to reject the Bill. I hope for the sake of open government and trust in Parliament that the unelected House shows some commitment to transparency and votes it out.