Freedom of Information Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 10:15 pm on 14th November 2000.

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Photo of Viscount Colville of Culross Viscount Colville of Culross Crossbench 10:15 pm, 14th November 2000

My Lords, before the Minister replies, I should like to ask the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, whether he can possibly be right in what he has just said about the powers of the commissioner. The difficulty in relation to this Bill is that the duty to confirm or deny is a term of art. It means "the right to know".

The provision in Clause 35(3) means that there is no right to know. Therefore, Clause 2 does not arise because Clause 2 depends upon Clause 1, which is the duty to confirm or deny, and there is no jurisdiction for the commissioner to do anything other than a judicial review exercise. The question of prejudice or merit does not come into it.