The Freedom of Information Act was introduced by Labour in 2000 to make Government more transparent. It gives you the right to find out about the decisions made in your name by requiring public bodies, including Government departments, local Councils and the Police to answer questions submitted by the public. The principle behind the Act is simple: the services you pay for and the Government you elect should be answerable and accountable to you.
The Act has been a success and has led to important information that would not otherwise have been made available, becoming public. That is why I believe that we should further strengthen the Act and increase accountability by widening it to include all companies that have public contracts.
I oppose any proposals to weaken the Act, as this would allow public authorities to avoid scrutiny, therefore weakening accountability. The FOI Act should reflect citizens’ interests and rights in a democratic society. That’s why I oppose the introduction of charges for requests and will always strongly oppose proposals such as this in Parliament.