Freedom of Information Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:15 pm on 14th November 2000.

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Photo of Lord Lucas Lord Lucas Conservative 7:15 pm, 14th November 2000

My Lords, it is a great pity we are not in Committee because I then would have been able to chew in to that load of blather the noble Lord has been given to read. He referred to cost implications for public authorities but that is clearly covered in Clause 11 which gives them an exemption under those circumstances. He talked as if I sought to amend existing statutory obligations, which of course I am not. I merely seek to provide an additional statutory right, or rather not extinguish a statutory right which is about to be extinguished by Clause 20. I am talking about information which would be available in the form that people wanted it were it not for Clause 20 of the Bill. All I am doing is reducing to some extent the impact of Clause 20.

I do not consider that the Government's response to the amendment is in any way satisfactory. I also understand that there is little hope of my achieving any change in what the Government have said, not even any discussion with regard to putting something in the code of practice. It seems to me desirable that the Liberal Democrats, who have put so much effort in to getting their names on so many amendments, to their own glory, should also be asked to put their names on the Division List against improvements to the Bill and against the extension of the Internet age with regard to the Bill. I wish to test the opinion of the House.