"People respect honesty, not cover-up"

There is no reason why our MPs should be exempt from Freedom of Information laws.  That is the opinion of Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner from the UK's information watchdog.  Some MPs claim that their correspondence with members from their constituents could be put in the public domain, destroying their trust between local MP and the electorate.  Yet not one complaint has been made that anyone's correspondence with an MP had been wrongly disclosed under the terms of the two-year-old legislation.  Mr Thomas said "There are bound to be times when the FoI may be uncomfortable. But openness - even where it reveals uncertainties, disagreements or embarrassments - treats citizens as grown-ups and reflects the realities of public life. People respect honesty, not cover-up."  And that is what all this comes down to - MPs are not comfortable with certain bits of information coming out in public.  Tough, you are accountable to the people who pay your wages and effectively employ you - the public. He went on to say "Freedom of information reinforces good government... Greater openness will deter spin and informal decision-making."  How can you not want these things?


I do agree that some of the requests public bodies are receiving are time and money wasting and maybe there is a legitimate reason to review certain aspects of the law; but just because a department receives a request to disclose how much it spent on Ferrero Rocher is not reason enough to make MPs exempt.  It is looking like Gordon Brown will not want to look like restricting open government when takes over and so FOI should remain, but it hasn't stopped people like Alistair Darling calling for restrictions.  He is publicly saying it may be damaging good government.  Encouraging open government can never be a bad thing in my opinion and the more open the better.  There maybe one or two downsides to the legislation, but the benefits far, far outweigh the negatives.  Do not back down on this Brown, you have a chance to prove you are not about spin - do not waste it.