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Restricting freedom of information could cost Brown dear

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  • Restricting freedom of information could cost Brown dear

It may not matter to Tony Blair who will soon be an ex-prime minister, but why should prime minister-in-waiting Gordon Brown be ready to acquiesce at the rolling back of the Freedom of Information Act?

Orders to cap the costs (including the time government ministers take to decide if they want to reply) of FoI requests and limit the number of requests any individual or organisation may make are likely to be signed next month.

That is unless the Government realises that the ill-will resulting from restricting access to information will outweigh any benefit from preventing a some embarrassing headlines.

Peter Preston in the Observer today has nine examples of stories in the Guardian which have resulted from the lifting of the veil of secrecy when the act came into force two years ago.

He points out: “Lord Falconer will be off earning pots of courtroom cash again soon enough, and ex-PM Blair can swan between paradise islands as he pleases. But the once and future Brown has to live with rules that are being changed now, almost this minute; and neither tea nor sympathy will work so sweetly for him then.”

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