Freedom of Information Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 10:00 pm on 14th November 2000.

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Photo of Lord MacKay of Ardbrecknish Lord MacKay of Ardbrecknish Crossbench 10:00 pm, 14th November 2000

My Lords, I think that the Minister is now answering my question: that the Health and Safety Executive and the Food Standards Agency are indeed government departments. That definition may have been all right for all the other purposes beforehand, but do we really think that it is right when it comes to freedom of information? That is the question the noble Lord has to answer. He does not need to give me a lecture on the fact that we have treated them as government departments. We are looking at an entirely new business. The question is whether Ministers should be able to use a veto for bodies other than ministerial government departments or should rely on other parts of the legislation and not the ministerial veto. I should be grateful if the Minister will turn his attention to that important issue. It is the central point of my amendment.