Sunday, July 19, 2015

Tories now want to ban Freedom of Information

Margaret Thatcher was personally told that police had
investigated claims that paedophile politician Cyril
Smith indecently assaulted teenage boys in the 1960s
Can you imagine if there was no Freedom of Information law? MPs would still be abusing their expenses, billing the taxpayer to buy second homes, the way they used to. Information of legitimate interest to the public would have been kept from the public.

This newspaper has made a series of important revelations by using the FoI laws. Earlier this year, The Mail on Sunday won an FoI battle with the Cabinet Office, which was forced to release papers showing that Margaret Thatcher was personally told that police had investigated claims that paedophile politician Cyril Smith indecently assaulted teenage boys in the 1960s.

In June, the MoS used FoI laws to reveal that disgraced peer Lord Janner made secret official visits to Parliament several months after police were told he was too ill to be questioned over child abuse allegations.

In 2010, through a FoI request to a local council, the MoS revealed that a family of former asylum-seekers from Somalia are living in a £2.1 million luxury townhouse in one of Britain's most exclusive addresses at a cost to taxpayers of £8,000 a month.

If not for FoI requests by other individuals and organisations, we would not have been allowed to know about the cracks in the Hinkley Point nuclear power station. Or hospitals incinerating aborted foetuses, or the way Prince Charles lobbied Ministers.

The fact that dozens of foreign diplomats, covered by immunity, had been accused of rape, sexual assault and murder would have remained a closely guarded secret. Last week, it was thanks to the FoI that we learned that even though the Commons voted against RAF bombing raids in Syria, RAF pilots did just that in the full knowledge of David Cameron, albeit not in British planes.  (more...)

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