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December 14, 2015updated 22 Dec 2015 1:56pm

Hands Off FoI: Senior minister tells The Sun ‘nobody in Government wants to touch this now’

By William Turvill

The Government is reported to be getting "cold feet" over plans to weaken the Freedom of Information Act.

The Sun quotes one minister as saying the act has become a "very hot political potato" after a public backlash over the suggestion it could be weakened.

Should the Government decide not to change the act, it would mark a victory for the Hands Off FoI campaign.

There are widespread concerns that the Government's Independent Commission on Freedom of Information will suggest the introduction of FoI charges, further protection for internal discussions and strengthened ministerial veto.

In response, the Society of Editors, Press Gazette and Holdthefrontpage launched Hands Off FoI.

A Press Gazette petition calling on the Government not to weaken the act has been signed by more than 42,000 people.

And The Sun quotes "senior ministers" as saying they are "decidely unenthusiastic" about making changes to the act.

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One is quoted as saying: “Nobody in the Government wants to touch this now, it’s a very hot political potato.”

And backbench Tory MP David Davis told the newspaper: “It would appear ministers may finally be seeing sense. FoI may be difficult for the Government, but is an incredibly valuable tool for everyone else.”

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