Border Agency gets in a pickle over Dutch MP’s visitPosted on February 18th, 2010 No comments
The UK Border Agency has had its knuckles rapped by the Information Commissioner after it took almost a year to respond to a Freedom of Information question.
A request was made on the whatdotheyknow website about information relating to the decision to ban Dutch MP Geert Wilders from entering the UK.
Mr Wilders had caused controversy in that he was responsible for producing a film called Fitna, branded by many as anti-muslim.
Because of these views the British Government decided he should not be allowed into the country. Eventually he was allowed in and showed his film at the House of Lords.
More background on Mr Wilders and his film can be found [here].
The request for information was made to the UK Border Agency on February 12, 2009 and they acknowledged the request five days later. In March, July, August and September there was some communication between the parties but the question was still not answered.
Eventually in on September 30 the applicant got in touch with the Commissioner’s office and on October 30 the Commissioner communicated with the UK Borders Agency, who said “unfortunately a response to this case has not yet been issued”.
The UK Border Agency said it was in the process of answering but was trying to assess a possible S.36 (Prejudice to the effective conduct of public affairs) exemption to some of the information.
Finally the Information Commissioner counted out the UK Border Agency when it still had not not replied by December.
A Decision Notice was issued dated January 7, 2010 [link] and finally the UK Border Agency did reply, although it decided after all that time to exempt most of the information under S.21 (Available by another means), S.27 (International Relations), S.36 (Prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs) and S.40 (Personal Information).
You can see the whole history of the request posted on whatdotheyknow [link] and for those of you interested there is a news clipping on Mr Wilders below.
Decisions, News S.21 (Available by another means), S.27 (International Relations), S.36 (Prejudice to effective conduct of Public Affairs), S.40 (Personal Information)
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