Writing to a random peer

OK – so the next step in the Freedom of Information ‘defeat the secretive buggers campaign’ is to ‘Lobby a Lord’. If you visit www.ourcampaign.org.uk/foi then you can select a random (or specific) Lord to nag about the way they will be voting on the Bill when it is debated in the Lords.

This is my text to my random Lord!

Dear Lord Bishop of Worcester,

I am writing to you to beg you to join the Liberal Democrats in the lobbies when the time comes to vote on the Freedom of Information Bill. There is no reason on this earth why MPs should not be subject to the same amount of scrutiny and transparency as the rest of the Institutions and organisations in this country. MPs’ correspondence and correspondence appertaining to constituents business is already protected under the Data Protection Act and its sections and sub-section exemptions. There is no need for any further amendment or shenanigans.

Please, please do not support those who would wish to exempt themselves from this scrutiny.

Yours sincerely
Lynne Featherstone, MP

You can find out more about the campaign at www.ourcampaign.org.uk/foi

0 thoughts on “Writing to a random peer

  1. WriteToThem may need to consider how they automate the opening line of these letters – I’m not sure “Lord Bishop of Worcester” is the correct form of address!

  2. You have used the word “buggers” once or twice recently as a derogatory term. And please don’t tell me it was written as a joke. Now this may seem OK if you are heterosexual but it very offensive if you happen to be Gay. I also note that you had nothing to say about the International Day Against Homophobia on 17 May. Even though there is a video on the right hand side of your Blog of Stephen Williams speaking about Homophobic Bullying. Mmmm I am beginning to wonder about your attitude to Gay Rights Lynne Featherstone.

  3. The reports about the debate on the Bill suggested that an MP was claiming that he had been forced to reveal information about a constituent, presumably that being information that would allow the constituent to be identified (but perhaps after some further research or with prior knowledge). Has that assertion been investigated by the Information Commissioner? Is there clear legal opinion that FOI law and regulation are strong enough?

  4. There were claims like that in the debate, but no evidence that I heard – and MPs kept asking for it – that it had happened.It was also claimed that, if it was true that this had happened, it was erroneous and was a misinterpretation of the law – something a new law wouldn’t stop.

  5. Anonymous – rest assured, you don’t need to wonder about my commitment to equality. But I hear your sensitivity to use of the word “buggers” and am trying to make up my mind whether it is justified or a sensitivity too far!

  6. It’s a shame you couldn’t make it to the House to vote against any of this bill’s readings. I know it’s a Friday, but… All it would have taken to stop this Bill becoming law was you, or any other MP, standing up in the House and saying ‘Object’ during the second reading.Your actual voting record on this topic, rather than your too-late-in-the-day rhetoric, is duly noted on your TheyWorkForYou.com page.I’m very happy you’re now encouraging people to contact a Lord as a last-ditch effort, but a small mea-culpa might be in order, give you let this one pass in your role as an elected member of the primary legislature.

  7. Tomski: the real culprit on the second reading was the Government’s (ie Labour) Whips.When there’s a session debating private member bills, the whips normally object to all the outstanding bills that haven’t yet been debated – so they come back for debate at a latter date.On this occassionly, very unusually, the whip didn’t object. Therefore the bill went through at a time when no-one (other than whoever cooked up this deal) was expecting it.

  8. It’s always easy to blame the whips, but as far as Parliament is concerned, every vote is a free vote.I hold my MP to that simple standard, and would suggest our democracy would be healthier if others did the same.The facts are pretty start: Lynne Featherstone MP – my MP – could have stopped this bill. But chose not to – indeed, she missed every single opportunity to vote against it.

  9. Tomski, I’ve explained elsewhere in my blog why I missed the last vote (illness).With the advantage of hindsight, of course it would have been better if I or a colleague had tried to block the bill at an earlier stage.Having been caught out at those points by Labour’s complicity in trying to get this bill through, I certainly won’t be again!!

  10. tomski, give your MP a break, please: I, too, have had shingles, was lucky to not have it very badly, and was treated quickly with an anti-viral (partly because I already had a doctor’s appointment booked for something else). Anyway, the break for MPs will be over by the weekend, so I suppose its open season again by Monday…

  11. Many apologies, Lynne – I didn’t realise you were ill for the vote.Shingles is nasty – I hope you’re on the mend.