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Straw again

Martin Rosenbaum | 15:02 UK time, Thursday, 28 June 2007

Gordon Brown's reshuffle means that Jack Straw is Secretary of State for Justice, and so back in charge of freedom of information policy.

It was Straw who as Home Secretary introduced the Freedom of Information Act, at a time when FOI came under the Home Office. However remarks he's been making recently, for example here, suggest that he's not all that enthusiastic about his own legislation.

In fact, the law he brought in to implement Labour's manifesto commitment was less far-reaching than the initial plans of his ministerial colleagues. And he's reputed to have remarked to Tony Blair, 'I told you no good would come of it.'

In fact, he's one of the cabinet ministers least keen on FOI. It remains to be seen whether this will mean clashes with Gordon Brown's rhetoric about open government.

FOI campaigners have recently taken heart from their belief that Gordon Brown will abandon the government's plans to restrict FOI. Jack Straw's appointment will not be the one they wanted.

In a further change, the junior minister who had responsibility for FOI previously, Cathy Ashton, has been promoted to Leader of the House of Lords.

Comments   Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 05:08 PM on 28 Jun 2007,
  • Paul Dockree wrote:

If Jack Straw does try to continue to amend the legislation he brought in it will show what sort of opposition he will put up to the new Prime Minister - who is not reputed to be strong on consensus politics. If nothing is done then perhaps it would indicate PM Brown hasn't changed much in character.

The accusation of Mr Brown having a "Stalinist" tendency seemed a bit strong but then I watched Panorama last Monday.

From Russia with Love for consensus? Will have to wait and see

  • 2.
  • At 01:07 AM on 06 Jul 2007,
  • Xie_Ming wrote:

With Blair gone, perhaps this could be discussed:

Should a democratic government lie to its citizens?

Retiring Pentagon generals and other evidence suggests that the US-British invasion of Iraq was imperialism for (1) oil (2) Israel (3) bases. After numerous other false pretexts, domestic audiences are being told “we are there to bring democracy to the Middle East”.

Is it either proper or necessary to lie to one’s own electorate over such policy issues?

What alternatives exist to imperialism in today’s world? Should the electorate have a voice in choosing such alternatives?

Is the electorate mature enough to consider such questions?

Should FOI implementation conceal the development of such facts?

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