Right of Reply
The Home Secretary responds to criticism made in a recent article by Donald Macintyre
We have not ignored the recommendation of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry relating to the police service. The police have been brought into the scope of the draft Bill, in contrast to the White Paper, which excluded all operational functions.
Mr Macintyre also fails to explain that this is a draft Bill, published for consultation and scrutiny. I am very willing to consider constructive suggestions for improving the Bill. Like Mr Macintyre, I believe that the Bill can be made better - if I did not believe that there would be little point in the extensive consultation and scrutiny process.
It is incorrect to suggest that the powerful statutory provisions in the draft Bill are worse than the existing, voluntary Code of Practice or to suggest that the Bill overturns the presumption of openness set out in the White Paper. The Bill creates an entitlement in law to information held by public authorities. Even where the Bill provides an exemption, public authorities are required to balance the public interest in making the information available against any harm caused by the disclosure.
Freedom of information has to be balanced with the rights to privacy and confidentiality. The public interest is not always served by making information available - for example, premature disclosure of evidence obtained during an investigation may prevent proceedings being taken against the accused.
The proposals in the draft Bill will make a radical change to the way that public services in this country operate.
TV reviewGrace Dent: Jimmy McGovern's new drama sheds light on sex slavery in the colonies
Eurovision 2015Australian Idol winner unveiled as representative Down Under
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Autism 'caused by genetics', study suggests
- 2 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 3 Why you should never make assumptions about people with autism
- 4 Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
Fifty Shades of Grey banned by Indian censors despite sex scenes being edited out
The 9 rules every Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoon had to follow are wonderfully pedantic
India's Daughter: BBC Four documentary provokes outrage on Twitter
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
The world's most beautiful libraries: Introducing Franck Bohbot's House of Books project
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ex-head of MI6: 'We shouldn't kid ourselves that Russia is on a path to democracy'
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
Nigel Farage promises Ukip will not 'stigmatise' would-be migrants – and says he wants 'everyone to speak the same language'