Former minister accuses judges of 'misunderstanding' will of Parliament by siding with Guardian on Charles letters

A decision by a Court of Appeal judge to lift a block allowing access to the Prince of Wales's letters to government ministers shows a "clear misunderstanding" of the will of parliament, a former Home Office minister said.
 
Mark Harper, who resigned from the Home Office last month, suggested judges were undermining the executive power of the Commons by making their own laws.
 
Speaking in the Commons, he asked Commons Leader Andrew Lansley for a debate on the operation of the Freedom of Information Act.
 
"You will have seen the judgment yesterday from the Court of Appeal, which seems to me, from my reading of it, a very clear misunderstanding of what this House and the other place set out in primary legislation," he said.
 
"I'm glad it's going to be challenged, but I think a debate would be helpful so that the House can fully understand who makes the law, this place or judges."
 
Lansley said he agreed and described the decision as "disappointing".
 
He said: "I think the Government will be appealing the decision to the Supreme Court.
 
"And we have been clear that preserving the confidentiality of communications between the heir to the throne and the Government is an important principle to be protected. And indeed this House, Parliament, endorsed this approach when it passed the Constitutional Reform of Governance Act of 2010, amending the Freedom of Information Act."
 
He added: "Obviously the case relates to earlier papers, but I think the House was very clear about that previously."
 
Guardian journalist Rob Evans challenged Attorney General Dominic Grieve's decision to veto a High Court tribunal which had ruled in favour of allowing publication of the correspondence.
 
Grieve claimed that releasing the letters would undermine the principle of the heir being politically neutral and was granted permission to appeal the latest ruling to the Supreme Court.
 
In September 2012 a High Court judge ruled that Evans and the public were entitled to see the letters under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI) and under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.
 
While the Government departments involved did not appeal, Grieve intervened a month later overruling the decision.
 
But yesterday, the Court of Appeal ruled that Grieve had "no good reason" for overriding the decision of the tribunal and that his actions were incompatible with European law.

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