Campaigners welcome Brown's Freedom of Information u-turn

By agency reporter
January 22, 2009

Gordon Brown's surprise withdrawal of the Freedom of Information (Parliament) Order, which would have exempted Parliamentary expenses from the Freedom of Information Act, has been welcomed by Peter Facey, director of campaign group Unlock Democracy

He commented: "We are delighted that the Government has finally seen sense and backed down on this measure. If passed, this Order would have had a catastrophic impact on the reputation of Parliament. We now call on the Parliamentary authorities to publish MPs' expenses at the earliest opportunity."

Facet added: "Fundamentally, the Government backed down because they knew they would lose even they won the vote. This was a clear victory of people power. We have had reports of MPs receiving dozens of letters. Congratulations to the tens of thousands of people who wrote to their MP, jammed the House of Commons switchboard, emailed, texted and tweeted their friends, blogged and signed up to the various internet protest groups: you made a real difference today."

He continued: "The rules have changed in the information age. The campaign that Unlock Democracy,, mySociety and dozens of others were able to mount within hours of the order being sneaked out last Thursday would have taken weeks ten years ago. Politicians from across the political spectrum need to learn from that."

"The immediate threat to the Freedom of Information Act has abated, but it will never completely go away. This is the second attempt to exempt MPs from the Act in as many years. Unlock Democracy will keep a watchful eye for developments."

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.