The original FOI request I made is here: http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/bottled_water_2
I finally got a response from the House of Commons to my request for an internal review. The House in effect conceded that its original interpretation of the law was wrong and agreed to provide the information I had asked for. It seems strange to win an argument with a branch of the legislature on a point of law.
I did find out that the Clerk has been shopping at the Majestic Wine Warehouse, including (it would appear) purchasing 12 bottles of De Telmont Grande Reserve Champagne in January and 24 more in February.
I expect that the bottles were purchased for an event of some sort but it seems a bit excessive to be regularly buying Champagne at tax payers’ expense.
More details here:
“Our message is simple and strong: real change, not just new faces. An end to safe seats and seeming jobs for life for some MPs. Remove the power that MPs have to decide how they are elected … and give that to the voters instead. Bring in greater accountability for those who represent us; and greater choice at the ballot box in the first place.”
Create an email alert for Referendum 2010
This is a request to my reader(s) to use his/her/their vote in the European Elections (assuming eligibility).
It is perhaps worth reminding people just who can vote in UK Elections.
Below is a full list of Commonwealth and European Union countries. If you are a citizen of one of these countries, and resident in the UK, you are eligible to register to vote in UK elections. To qualify, Commonwealth citizens must be resident in the UK and either have leave to remain in the UK or not require such leave. The definition of a ‘Commonwealth citizen’ includes citizens of British Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories.
European Union countries
Antigua and Barbuda
Papua New Guinea
St Kitts & Nevis
St Vincent & The Grenadines
United Republic of Tanzania
Trinidad & Tobago
Also check out http://www.eurovotescount.org.uk/
No particular big story here, just a responsible and sensible use of Freedom of Information and the Act working as it should.
The Board Members’ Handbook for the Architects Registration Board has been released.
“I can confirm that 6 authorities’ have been contacted in writing between 1
January 2009 and 8 April 2009 to inform them that we wish them to make
improvements to their publication schemes as part of enforcement cases.
These authorities are Staffordshire Primary Care Trust, Royal Mail,
Lancashire Constabulary, South Wales Police, Northern Ireland Legal Services
Commission and the City and County of Swansea. In addition, the issue was
raised verbally with Leeds City Council on 1 April 2009 and mentioned in a
presentation given to the Metropolitan Police on 9 March 2009.”
Pleased to see the ICO using its powers, I have seen some bad publication schemes. Personally, I think public authorities with websites should be required to publish them online.
“91% said they wanted expenses records to be published in full straight away.”
This shows just how out of touch some public authorities are when they turn down FOI requests for no good reason.
The law really needs to be strengthened to reduce the scope for misusing exemptions and speed up the complaints process.
France made this happen in 2004:
“A charter for the environment which makes a healthy environment a
constitutional right for French citizens has passed a key hurdle with
approval by the parliament on Tuesday by 328 votes to 10.”
http://www.endseurope.com/9473 – http://www.env-health.org/a/1629
I am not about to suggest that France’s behaviour towards the
environment has been perfect ever since or that we should simply
translate the French Charter. What I am saying is that all
legislation and Government activity that has a damaging effect on the
environment should be subject to challenge and that the environment
should enjoy strong constitutional protections.
Once this was passed legislation would be drafted so as to be
compatible with these principles.
Although there is no one document in a glass case that anyone can
point to and say this is the UK Constitution – we do have a
constitution and it does have written sources e.g. Parliament Act
1911, European Communities Act 1972, Act of Settlement 1701
I think this change would be hard to achieve…
What do you think?
[based on a post I made to a Serious Change Google Group]
“The debates on the Telecoms Package, thanks to a remarkable citizen mobilization, led to an extremely strong recognition of the access to internet as a fundamental right with the re-adoption of amendment 138/46 in second reading by a qualified majority.”
“Answer: The City of Edinburgh Council spent £10,626.04 on bottled water from January 2008 to December 2008.”