Alison McGovern MP

Wirral South

My response to Freedom of Information Act commission findings

I have received a considerable amount of correspondence from constituents in recent weeks about the Freedom of Information Act.

My constituents have been telling me that they want Freedom of Information rules strengthened and not weakened.

The Freedom of Information Act gives you the right to access recorded information held by public sector organisations. 

I am myself am a big supporter of the Act which came into force over ten years ago. I believe it has done a lot for openness and transparency of the workings of government.

There has been a review being undertaken to examine how the Freedom of Information Act has been working.

The Commission on Freedom of Information who have carried out the review is made up of f Lords, ex-MPs and media experts. The commission was established by Conservative MP and Cabinet Office Minster Matthew Hancock.

The review has concluded that no legal changes will be made to the Act which I know will be a relief to those who were concerned about limitations to the information provided by the public sector.

There was considerable opposition to any changes being made to the Act from the Labour Party and my Labour colleagues have been reinforcing the idea that the Act is working well.

Whilst this will be a relief to campaigners I know that people are still calling for the Act to become extended. Constituents have been making the point to me that they want to see the Act extended to Private sector companies who have won public sector contracts and also to charities. I want to assure my constituents Labour will continue to make the case for this.

Tom Watson, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, wants to know the cost of setting up the FOI Commission and has called on the Government to provide this information. 

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