Peer vow to overrule FoI amend

A powerful cross-party group of peers vowed this week to overrule MPs in their attempt to exempt Parliament from the Freedom of Information Act.

The peers, who include former speaker Baroness Boothroyd, former Labour cabinet minister Lord Clark, former attorney general Lord Morris, former Tory cabinet minister Lord Baker and Lib Dem peer Baroness Williams, met to discuss tactics, amid signs Tory MP David Maclean was having difficulty finding a peer to sponsor his Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill after MPs approved it last month.

One peer told Press Gazette that he had been approached, but had declined.

However, in anticipation that someone else would come forward, business managers have set aside 28 June for the bill.

Lord MacNally, Lib Dem ;eader in the Lords, is pressing peers to kill off the bill outright.

He told the meeting that if the bill was given an unopposed second reading it would be interpreted as an indication peers wanted to exempt themselves as well as MPs.

Some Labour peers, however, favour holding back until the bill goes into committee, then amending it, forcing it back to the Common sin the autumn.

Maclean claims his bill is needed to protect MPs’ constituency correspondence.

But Maurice Frankel of the Freedom of Information Campaign told the meeting that MPs’ constituency correspondence was already protected by the Data Protection laws. ‘If there has been a breach it is simply as a result of accidental disclosures,’he said.

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