There was a vote in the House of Commons last Friday to exempt MPs from the Freedom of Information Act. This was pushed forward by a group of Labour and Tory MPs, despite the best efforts of Lib Dem MPs to stop them.
If this proposal if finally made law, then information about such things as MPs’ expenses claims will become confidential.
A lot of the ‘right-wing’ newspapers such as the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail, have roundly criticised what’s happened. They are angry with the Labour and Tory MPs who are trying to cover things up, and they have been praising the Lib Dem MPs. This is what the Daily Telegraph had to say :
On Friday, MPs opted… to exempt themselves from the Freedom of Information Act. Acting in a way uncomfortably reminiscent of Communist officials in East Germany, they confirmed that members of the House of Commons believe that there should be one law for them, and another for everyone else.
There is no reason whatever for the MPs’ abysmal decision to try to keep information from the people to whom they are responsible: us. The arguments that have been offered are wholly spurious. David Maclean, the former Conservative whip who introduced the measure as a Private Members’ Bill, has claimed it is essential to keep “information in MPs’ correspondence about constituents confidential”.
But the Freedom of Information Act already contains exemptions that cover such information, and there is no duty to disclose it. To say that it might still be disclosed “by mistake” is to provide no argument at all for the new legislation.
The Daily Telegraph has produced a list of which 18 Tory MPs voted to exempt themselves from the Freedom of Information Act, and we were interested to see that our MP for Rochford and Southend East James Duddridge was one of them.
Perhaps Mr Duddridge would like to leave a comment here and justify his vote!