MPs block FOI bill

MPs have blocked the bill that would have exempted politicians from freedom of information inquiries.

David Maclean, a former Tory chief whip, brought in the private members' freedom of information amendment bill, arguing the proposed changes to the existing legislation were needed to protect MPs' constituency correspondence from disclosure.

Simon Hughes, Liberal Democrat constitutional affairs spokesman, said that introducing the changes would be "extremely bad politics": "The public want to know what we are doing and in particular they want to know how we spend money on their behalf. I think it would be regarded as completely beyond acceptable if we said you can't know some or all of the information about what we do."

A number of MPs from all parties managed to talk out the planned bill at its third reading by making sure the debate continued for five hours. This means that the bill now goes to the bottom of the queue for private members' bills and has virtually no chance of becoming law unless it gets government backing.

MPs block FoI curbs (The Guardian, 20 April 2007)

MPs not exempt from Freedom of Information Act (, 20 April 2007)