EDM 589 is included on Parliament’s topical issues webpages:
Freedom of Information topic
Please write to your MP and ask them to sign if they have not already done so:
That this House notes that section 6 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, with certain exceptions, makes companies wholly owned by the Crown or by a single public authority subject to the Act; further notes that a company wholly owned by two or more public authorities or 95 per cent. owned by a single public authority will be outside the scope of the Freedom of Information Act 2000; and calls for the closure of this loophole and for companies owned 90 per cent. or more by any number of public authorities to be subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
Cheshire Police avoid having to provide the same information again in response to an FOI request by linking to WhatDoTheyKnow.com. Following this approach public authorities only need to provide information once through whatdotheyknow.com.
“This information is already reasonably accessible to you by other means and is therefore exempt information in accordance with Section 21 of the Act.
Please see previous disclosures on the same subject which appear both on our disclosure log;
Injury Pension Awarded Previous Disclosure
Police Injury Award Pensions Previous Disclosure
and on the web site What do they know website under Cheshire Constabulary:
Whatdotheyknow Cheshire Constabulary“
“Ministers are to go to court to try to stop The Independent from seeing secret correspondence which could shed light on how public money has been spent on the Royal Family.”
“The decision was that the request is valid for the purposes of the Act and that it is reasonably practicable for the House of Commons to provide you with an electronic copy of the information requested via the ‘what do they know?’ website.
A Decision Notice will be drafted shortly to confirm the Commissioner’s view on this matter and to compel the House to disclose the requested information via ‘what do they know?’.”
Do not be fooled by the so called pop star welcome for Prince William or reports of royal fever the building he has opened is a Supreme Court and it means that where previously New Zealanders’ final right of appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, based in London it is now to the Supreme Court in a much more convenient location New Zealand.
The Privy Council itself is a symbol of the power of the monarch in making legislation, judicial matters and executive matters.
I asked my MP to propose an EDM on this subject and he now has, please write to your MP and get them to sign as well.
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION AND COMPANIES OWNED BY TWO OR MORE PUBLIC AUTHORITIES
“That this House notes that section 6 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 with certain exceptions makes companies wholly owned by the Crown or by a single public authority subject to the Act; further notes that a company wholly owned by two or more public authorities or 95 per cent. owned by a single public authority will be outside the scope of the Freedom of Information Act 2000; and calls for the closure of this loophole and for companies owned 90 per cent. or more by any number of public authorities to be subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000.”
The context to this blog post is that I am trying to convince the ICO that the Duchy of Lancaster is a public authority.
I have already submitted detailed evidence to the ICO but I have not yet focussed heavily of the legislative powers of the Duchy. This blog post is based on an email I sent to the ICO today.
I gave example from the London Gazette:
“The Queen has been pleased to appoint by Letters Patent under the seal of the Duchy and County Palatine of Lancaster Mr. Eric Jones, J.P., as Constable of Lancaster Castle in succession to the late Mr. Michael Fitzherbert-Brockholes, O.B.E., J.P., D.L.”
London Gazette – Issue Number: 55113 – Notice Code: 1109
It is clear from the Oxford English Dictionary definition (below) of “letters patent” that these letters are instruments of the monarch or government. The use of the Duchy’s Seal demonstrates the fact that these law making powers are derived from Duchy offices. The Chancellor of the Duchy is the keeper of the seal .
“a. Law. letters patent n. (also in 14th cent. lettre patent) Originally: an open letter or document (see quot. 1891) issued by a monarch or government to record a contract, authorize or command an action, or confer a privilege, right, office, title, or property. In later use esp.: such a document which grants for a set period the sole right to make, use, or sell some process, invention, or commodity.”
This short extract from OED online (see patent adj.) is reproduced under fair use.
The Gazette is the Government’s Official Newspaper. Duchy of Lancaster announcements are included State Notices
“From today, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent will have to meet the £120,000-a-year rent on their Kensington Palace apartment out of their own pockets.”
Source: Daily Mail
I welcome this but I call on the Government to make further reforms during 2010:
(1) ensuring a clear split between the public and private expenditure of the Royal Family.
(2) making the publicly funded bodies subject to the Freedom of Information Act
(3) allowing the National Audit Office to audit the publicly funded bodies
(4) reducing Civil List payments by 20%
I sometimes get the feeling that one reason some people in the UK want to keep the monarchy is because of the Commonwealth. The Queen appears to offer us membership of a sort of international club who share a single head of state. Except they don’t:
There are 54 member states, of these 16 have the Queen as head of state, 33 members are republics and 5 members have distinct monarchs:
Whilst many countries may feel it is advantageous to be seen to be part of the Commonwealth a majority of these have a Republican system of Government and others are likely to follow.