On the day Westminster was convulsed by the revelations surrounding the dawn arrest of Ruth Turner, the senior Downing Street aide, in the cash-for-honours investigation, MPs approved on the nod the second reading of a bill to exclude parliament from the Freedom of Information Act.
David Maclean, the former Tory chief whip, introduced the measure in a private member’s bill. …
He acknowledged the effect of the bill would be to exempt parliament from the act at a time when the parliamentary authorities have lost a case at an information tribunal after trying to block more detailed disclosure of MPs’ expenses.
When it was put to him that he had chosen the very end of a busy parliamentary day to get a second reading, he said: “I am showing some of the younger hands how you can get a bill through parliament after long experience as a whip in both getting and blocking bills through parliament.”
Hencke’s report also notes that because it is a private member’s bill, Maclean will be allowed to chose the members of the committee that scrutinises his bill. There are also the first hints of opposition, from Lib Dem MP Norman Baker, who recently won a Information Tribunal case against the House of Commons in order to force the release of MPs’ expenses.