The MPs who backed the Bill yesterday to exempt Parliament from FOI say they are worried about cases where personal information about their constituents could be disclosed by public authorities due to freedom of information.
I've been on the lookout for any examples of this actually happening - ie, cases where public authorities have under FOI put into the public domain correspondence from MPs which contains personal data about constituents, where that personal data should not be disclosed. From the information provided in the debate yesterday in the Commons I have only found it possible to track down one alleged instance of anything like this.
Simon Burns, the Tory MP for West Chelmsford, referred to a newspaper using FOI to obtain correspondence between Bob Russell, the LibDem MP for Colchester, and Colchester Council. I think he is probably talking about this.
However this article doesn't tell the people of Billericay anything about the contents of Mr Russell's letters, let alone any personal data about his constituents. It just recounts how many letters he writes, which in his case is quite a lot.
Is this really illegitimate FOI-based journalism on the part of the Billericay Weekly News? Well, as it happens, this kind of thing won't actually be stopped by the Maclean Bill. The Bill would only prevent public authorities releasing the contents of MPs' letters, not information about the numbers they receive.