Posted on September 8th, 2010 1 comment
A former Labour minister has taken a public swipe at the appointment of Christopher Graham as Information Commissioner.
Labour MP Denis MacShane was speaking in the House of Commons as part of a debate on the possible extension of the Freedom of Information Act.
In it he questioned the political independence of Mr Graham who has been an active member of the Liberal Party.
Mr MacShane said: “We also need to look at the UK Information Commissioner. That distinguished gentleman spent the early part of his life serving as a Liberal Democrat councillor, and he has twice stood as a Liberal Democrat candidate for Parliament.
“I wonder whether the Information Commissioner should be so connected, in such a direct political way, with one of the parties now in government.”
Some might say he has become a little detached after leaving Government in that he proposes that the Freedom of Information Act should also be applied to newspapers – I presume his tongue firmly was in his cheek at the time.
He was speaking as part of a motion brought by Liberal Democrat Tom Brake to extend the scope and power of the Freedom of Information Act.
Mr Brake wants to see the Act extended to more organisations, public authorities given less time to consider the public interest test, the ditching of the ministerial veto and make it easier to prosecute authorities for the offence of altering a record.
A full transcript of the exchange can be found here.
Mr McShane also mentioned that the “blog rats” who spread rumours about William Hague being gay had somehow used the Freedom of Information Act to circulate their story – if anybody knows anything about this I’d like to know how, please get in touch.
The video clip has got nothing to do with FoI but I just like it and it might make you smile. If you enjoy it there are a whole load more of his clips on the BBc website.