Falconer aide quits to campaign against FoI exemption bill - Press Gazette

Falconer aide quits to campaign against FoI exemption bill

A former journalist has quit as Lord Falconer’s Parliamentary aide to campaign against the bill to exempt Parliament from the Freedom of Information Act.

Journalist-turned-politician Martin Linton led MPs into revolt demanding that they should face the same law as 110,000 other public bodies.

Linton, who worked for the Daily Mail, Labour Weekly, the Daily Star and The Guardian before becoming MP for Battersea in 1997, said: ‘I felt so strongly that I decided to step down as Parliamentary private secretary and table a motion expressing my opposition.”

Some 50 MPs have now backed a Commons motion from Lib Dem president Simon Hughes claiming that the argument for new laws to protect MPs’ correspondence is ‘not laid out on the evidence”.

Linton, in his motion tabled in the Commons, called for the law to be clarified. His call this week was backed by 25 MPs.

‘It will be totally wrong to remove the House of Commons from the scope of the FoI Act while leaving 110,00 other public bodies within it,’Linton said. ‘The House of Commons should be on the same footing as other public bodies.’

Politicians now accept that when peers consider the bill there will be substantial amendments, which means it will return to the Commons.