Falconer: Embarrassment is not a valid reason for withholding information

Lord Falconer has outlined the extent of the cultural change that will be required within central and local government in the light of the new freedom of information legislation. Ministers will have to be prepared to release information that is potentially politically embarrassing. Falconer claims that the knowledge that they will now be open to such scrutiny should produce better government:
“Embarrassment or discomfort is not a reason for not disclosing. Indeed, embarrassment or discomfort is very frequently why FoI improves government.”
inisters, local councillors and officials will now need to operate on the basis that the information upon which they make decisions will become public knowledge.

Falconer also said that he expected the ministerial veto, under which the full Cabinet would have to agree to any proposal by a minister to prevent the release of documents under freedom of information legislation, would be used only rarely to stop information being released.

Only Cabinet can keep files secret (The Times, 1 January 2005)