Archives for ministerial veto

Welcome for decision to drop proposed cabinet papers exemption

The government’s announcement that it has dropped its proposal to exempt cabinet papers from the Freedom of Information Act, and that it will reduce the 30 year rule to 20 years, was welcomed by the Campaign for Freedom of Information today.

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Government uses veto again

The government has issued a second veto, preventing the disclosure of information under the FOI Act. This follows the veto in February 2009 of cabinet minutes relating to the war in Iraq. The present case involves a request to see the minutes of the 1997 meetings of the cabinet subcommittee on devolution in Scotland, Wales and the English regions. The committee had been chaired by Lord Irvine, the then Lord Chancellor.

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Iraq veto decision “extremely retrograde”

The government’s decision today to veto the release of the Iraq cabinet minutes was “an extremely retrograde step” according to the Campaign for Freedom of Information.

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Government should ‘live with’ Tribunal’s decision on disclosure of Iraq cabinet minutes

The government should accept today’s decision of the Information Tribunal and release the two sets of cabinet minutes from 2003 discussing the decision to go to war in Iraq, according to the Campaign for Freedom of Information. The Tribunal’s decision, made under the Freedom of Information Act, found that the balance of public interest favoured releasing the minutes.

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Freedom of Information (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill

Lib Dem MP Tom Brake has introduced a Private Member’s Bill to amend the Freedom of Information Act to remove the provisions permitting ministers to veto decisions of the Information Commissioner and Information Tribunal; to limit the time allowed for public authorities to respond to requests involving consideration of the public interest test and to amend the definition of public authorities. A copy of the Bill, which the Campaign helped draft, is available here and a note explaining the Bill can be downloaded here.

FOI and journalists

A version of this article by Maurice Frankel appeared in Press Gazette on 17 December 2004

After a four year delay to allow public authorities to prepare, the Freedom of Information Act finally comes into force on January 1st. It should provide journalists with a valuable tool for looking behind the gloss and spin at the actual documents in authorities’ files. Some authorities accept that they will have to adopt a more open stance and are likely to respond positively to press requests for information. Others will carry on as before, until forced to do otherwise.

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Your new rights to information

A version of this article by the Campaign’s director, Maurice Frankel, appeared in The Guardian on 14 December 2004

On January 1 the long-awaited Freedom of Information Act finally comes into force. The Act gives the public important new rights to the information held by public authorities. Worried about possible changes to your local school or hospital? The Act should allow you to see the evidence for them. Want to know whether the police are doing enough about burglaries? Use the legislation to probe their response times and clear-up rates. Unhappy about a regulatory body that never seems to do anything when people complain? Ask for their internal guidance on handling complaints and see their staff are doing what they’re supposed to do.

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Anger at Liberal Democrat decision to back flawed Information Bill

Campaigners today expressed “deep disappointment and anger” at the decision of the Liberal Democrats to back the government’s Freedom of Information Bill – and withdraw their support for real improvements.

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Freedom of Information Bill “fails to cure BSE secrecy problem”

The secrecy problem at the heart of the BSE crisis will continue to endanger public safety in future, because of the government’s deeply inadequate Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill, say campaigners.

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“Minimal” amendments do little to improve flawed information bill

Ministers have rejected calls to improve the Freedom of Information Bill, and are proposing only a handful of minor changes for the bill’s repeatedly delayed committee stage in the House of Lords. The limited nature of the government’s amendments, published today, were criticised by the Campaign for Freedom of Information.

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