Freedom of information

I believe that the Freedom of Information Act 2000 ('FOI Act'), introduced by the then Labour Government, is one of the most effective pieces of legislation Parliament has ever passed. I believe the FOI Act has given the public, campaigners and the media a powerful tool with which to hold the Government to account and increase transparency. The Act was a great achievement and must be defended. 

I would like to see the progress of the past decade in opening up government to more scrutiny built upon with an extended and strengthened FOI Act; one which incorporates all companies that have contracts with public bodies. If a company is benefiting from public money, it should be opened up to public scrutiny. I believe there is a shortfall in transparency because of contracts between the public and private sector and this needs to be addressed.

It is therefore welcome that my Shadow Frontbench colleagues held their own public, cross-party review into the Act in December 2015. It is vital that any changes resulting from the Government Commission's review do not weaken this crucial check on the power of the Executive.

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