Freedom of Information Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 10:55 pm on 14th November 2000.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord MacKay of Ardbrecknish Lord MacKay of Ardbrecknish Crossbench 10:55 pm, 14th November 2000

My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister. I am puzzled how an authority would know that the consent would not be forthcoming unless it goes and asks the person. It seems rather a nice get out, "I did not ask them because I knew they would not consent". It is not very satisfactory. In any case, it seems amazing that the Government are happy to put something along these lines in a code of practice with that caveat, which I find difficult to understand, but are not prepared to put it on the face of the Bill.

However, I am getting to the desperate stage in regard to some of the Government's arguments on the Bill. I shall not pursue this matter further. I shall read what the noble Lord said and study the words of the code of practice. Perhaps the Minister and his officials will think about it. Will the code of practice be strong enough? As to naming and shaming after the event, there are 50,000 authorities. It will take a devil of a long time to name and shame all 50,000 as cases come up. There will not be that many cases like this; they will not all be flowing in during the first few weeks. Firm guidance should be given on this issue, and the firmest guidance can be given on the face of the Bill.