Secrecy row over MPs’ foreign trips

The Speaker of the House of Commons, Michael Martin, has blocked the release of details about MPs’ foreign trips with the British Council.

From The Telegraph:

Since February 2007, 12 MPs have travelled overseas with the British Council to destinations including Thailand, India and Malawi, often at a cost of thousands of pounds.

MPs must normally declare any hospitality they receive from outside organisations, and the British Council does not appear on a list of bodies whose gifts are exempt from the requirement.

When The Sunday Telegraph used the Freedom of Information Act to ask the Commons authorities why the trips were not being declared, Mr Martin stepped in and took the highly unusual step of signing a special certificate preventing the release of any information about how the decision was reached.

The document, headed ‘The Certificate’, cites Parliamentary privilege as the reason to impose secrecy. It even halts any further investigation by Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner, who would normally have the power to intervene.

 

Norman Baker, Liberal Democrat MP for Lewes, said, “The Speaker’s decision to issue the certificate is pretty extraordinary and regrettable. If the House has genuine objections to the information being released than it should be prepared to fight its case before the Information Commissioner.”

Mark Hunter, Liberal Democrat MP for Cheadle said, “MPs cannot be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act that they themselves have passed.”

Read more by or more about , or .
This entry was posted in News and Parliament.
Advert

6 Comments

  • How the hell does the speaker have to power to circumvente the law of the land like this anyway?

  • sorry the above anonymous comment was from me

  • Andrew Duffield 8th Feb '09 - 9:47pm

    What depths must this Speaker plumb before MPs do the decent thing?

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • Jeff
    Yeovil Yokel 21st May '22 - 5:45pm: Given that a Battalion-size group of up to several hundred Lib Dem guerrillas could be marching down to Devon in ...
  • Lorenzo Cherin
    Martin There are incidents of what you say there, females aborted, because they are females, in the UK. Sir Keir Starmer chose to not prosecute one where...
  • Martin
    Lorezo Cherin: I doubt there are proponents of eugenics who want to select out females! But what society are you referring to? Are you claiming that aborti...
  • Yeovil Yokel
    I understand that a British Army Major commands a Company of about 100-150 personnel. Given that a Battalion-size group of up to several hundred Lib Dem guerril...
  • Peter Hirst
    We wouldn't need Compass, despite its laudable aims if we had a half decent electoral system where seats equalled votes, there was preferential voting and many ...