Many of you have contacted me via email and social media about your view that the Freedom of Information Act should be extended to include private companies are receiving public money to provide public services, and about your concerns that the Government may try to water down the Act.
The Freedom of Information Act was brought in by the previous Labour Government and has become a vital part of a more modern and transparent politics in Britain where people have the right to find out information in the majority of circumstances.
As I am sure you are aware, the Commission was set up in July 2015 to examine the implications and effectiveness of the FOI Act. The Commission’s consultation closed on the 20th November.
I welcome the fact that my Shadow Frontbench colleagues announced that they will hold their own public, cross-party review into the Act, which will look at how we can strengthen the Act to properly include private sector contractors given public money.
I will look closely at both the Government and Opposition’s reviews and consider their findings. However, it is important that any changes resulting from the Commission’s review do not weaken this crucial check on the power of the Executive.