Cabinet split over FOI and MPs
Lord Falconer is opposed and has warned his colleagues that it would add to the perception 'of being an increasingly secretive goverment', while in contrast the proposal is being welcomed by Jack Straw and some others 'because of the special circumstances of Parliament'.
It is believed by many that there was a similar internal disagreement over the government's planned restrictions on FOI, which were pushed through by Straw and others over-ruling a reluctant Falconer, while other Cabinet ministers without a specific interest in FOI were told it was a simple tidying up exercise to which they need pay no attention.
But there's another angle to this topic, which is the considerable use that MPs themselves make of FOI, a topic which has been researched by Steve Wood of Liverpool John Moores University. FOI gives MPs numerous advantages over Parliamentary Questions, such as the option of appealing to the Information Commissioner when dissatisfied with a response.
Some MPs, notably the enegetic Tory Grant Shapps, have been particularly effective at use of FOI.
One consequence of the Maclean Bill is that it would make it much more difficult to research MPs' use of FOI, since public authorities may keep secret FOI requests received from MPs. But research into how others use FOI would still be possible unimpeded.