While the Scottish Government last month announced plans to widen the scope of FOI legislation, the UK Cabinet Office yesterday laid a statement before Parliament setting out membership of the committee tasked with deciding whether the act is too expansive. Members include former Labour MP Jack Straw, who is already on the record calling for the scope of the act to be tightened.
SNP MP Peter Grant today raised concerns about the review, following the UK Government’s failure to properly answer his Parliamentary Questions on the leaked inaccurate memo about First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s meeting with the French Ambassador. A copy of the memo including distribution list has previously been refused under FOI requests.
Commenting, Peter Grant said:
"At a time when the Scottish Government is working to extend the scope of Scotland's Freedom of Information Act, it is doubly wrong that the UK government are seeking to water down the Westminster legislation.
“My current interest is that I have asked the government for a copy of the inaccurate memo leaked on the authority of Alistair Carmichael during the election to attack Nicola Sturgeon - the entire text of which has been reproduced in newspapers - because I want to know whether it was sent to Mr Carmichael and the current Scottish Secretary David Mundell. But my parliamentary questions haven't been properly answered, and FOI requests by others have been knocked back on spurious grounds. If this is the position before the FOI review, things can only get substantially worse after it."