Freedom of Information
How do British political parties
feel about a Freedom of Information Act? I forwarded the question
to the three major parties and as yet have only had one response...
The Conservative Party
THE ARGUMENTS FOR
THE ARGUMENTS AGAINST
Charter 88, the Labour Party and
the Liberal Democrats support the introduction of a Freedom of Information
A Freedom of Information Act is
needed, they argue, to end the secrecy of British Government, and make
it more transparent to the public, so that they can make informed decisions
about government policy.
Allow citizens to hold the decisions
of politicians and civil servants up to scrutiny.
The reality is that we do not need
a Freedom of Information Act. It is a myth to say that British Government
is shrouded in Secrecy. A lot of information is made available to
The first question that Conservatives
should ask is which information should be made available? Naturally,
there will always have to be areas of secrecy in Government, such as the
activities of the Security Service to defend national security and uphold
our economic well-being, for example. It would undermine national
security if the decisions and operation of the security services were held
up to the scrutiny of a few liberal inquisitive intellectuals.
The information that the public
needs to know about has been made available to them. It has been
a Conservative Government that has published performance tables for our
schools and hospitals, published the response times of the police and ambulance
services and in short made the public services more transparent to the
public. We believe that the public has a right to know the services
they rely on and pay for through their taxes.
It has been a Conservative Government
also that has given individuals the right to see Government files on them.
The Data Protection Act 1984 allows individuals access to information
held about them on computer by Government departments and other bodies.
This is as real safeguard of citizens' rights.
The Labour Party
The Liberal Democrats Party
Back to Homepage