Backlash grows against monarchy's freedom from scrutiny

By staff writers
November 24, 2009

Attempts to give the royal household complete exemption from the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act are facing strong opposition, with MPs, campaigners and members of the public criticising the proposal.

The royal family are already exempt from most aspects of the FoI Act, which allows the public to ask for information about other state institutions such as government departments, local councils and universities.

However, the royals are obliged to reply if it can be shown that disclosure is in the public interest. Even this small provision would be removed under the new proposals.

The Labour MP, Lynne Jones, has tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM 83), a parliamentary petition which allows MPs to express their opposition to the “blanket ban on accessing royal documents”. It calls for an end to the royal household's exemption from the FoI Act.

Meanwhile, the campaigning group Republic is urging concerned members of the public to write to their MPs about the issue.

“If your MP supports the royal FoI ban, then they support secrecy at the heart of government”, said Republic's James Gray, “You have a right to an explanation if this is the case”.

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