To ask the Senior Deputy Speaker whether (1) letters, and (2) e-mails, from members of the House of Lords to the Lord Speaker, in his capacity as Lord Speaker, can be released as result of a request made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000; and if so, what steps are being taken to ensure that the Lord Speaker is able to be informed confidentially of the views of members of the House while the restrictions are in place to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
The rights of access under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 ("the Act") apply to information recorded in any form which is held by a public authority. Correspondence such as letters and e-mails falls within the definition of information. Correspondence sent by members of the House of Lords to the Lord Speaker in his capacity as Lord Speaker would be held by the House of Lords for the purposes of the Act.
Requests for information are considered by the House Administration on a case-by-case basis. Whether correspondence will be disclosed in whole, in part or exempted from disclosure under one or more of the exemptions set out in the Act will depend upon the specific circumstances including the subject matter.