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 Lord Lucas Lord Lucas Conservative 10:15 pm, 14th November 2000

My Lords, it is quite clear that what the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, said is entirely wrong. If the Government agreed with him that this was a set of proposals in the Bill that had no particular effect, they would have been delighted to give in to the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, for a little extra concession such as him taking on the job of Minister for the Dome for a while.

However, there is a serious point to be dealt with. We are dealing with a catch-all; and when designing a catch-all in a Bill, generally one designs it so that it catches anything big that has been missed, but this is designed as a fine-tooth comb to go through the whole of the Bill and to trawl out anything little that may have been missed and subject it, not to the public interest test, but to something that is much more favourable to public authorities and officials.