I agree. In fact, so does the Upper Tribunal: “It may be both annoying and irritating (as well as both dissatisfying and disappointing) for politicians and public officials to have to face FOIA requests designed to expose possible or actual wrongdoing. However, that cannot mean that such requests, properly considered in the light of all the circumstances and the legislative intention, are necessarily to be regarded as vexatious. The vexed issue of MPs’ expenses… is an obvious example that springs to mind.” (Judge Nicholas Wikely, IC v Dransfield). The current government is operating contrary to the intention of the FoI Act 2000.
Peter Archer, in his paper on ‘The Constitution’ in Fabian Essays in Socialist Thought ed. Ben Pimlott (London: Heninemann 1984) 117-131 also strongly recommends the ending of information given only on a ‘right to know’ basis to ministers in government, the removal of part of the Official Secrets Act and the passage of a Freedom of Information Act.
But this has given rise to two problems which Dicey [19th century constitutional theorist] scarcely envisaged. One relates to freedom of information. Those who are entitled, and indeed expected, to make informed judgements, need the information on which to make them. And this is true not only of electors, but of those within government itself. The circulation of documents on a ‘need-to-know’ basis sometimes denies even to Cabinet ministers information on matters which are essential if they are to be more than departmental administrators.
For the general public, the inhibitions are even…
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